MPs approve 2019 budget with CZK 40 bn deficit

The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday evening approved the 2019 state budget with a deficit of 40 billion crowns, or 0.7 percent of GDP.

It passed with 108 votes from the coalition government of ANO and the Social Democrats with support from the Communists. All opposition MPs voted against it.

Budget priorities include increasing pensions overall and civil service salaries, in particular for teachers. The budget counts on economic growth in 2019 of 3.1 percent and an average inflation rate of 2.3 percent, with the unemployment holding steady at around 2.3 percent.

MPs voted on a number of amendments to redistribute funds within the budget, tabled by the Budget Committee and the Communists.

Some 600 million crowns will go to municipalities to repair and build schools and rent dwellings, as Communist MP Miloslav Vostra, chairman of the budget committee, had wanted; 327 million crowns more will go towards social services as pushed for by Social Democrat MP Roman Onderka; and 100 million crowns more than initially planned with go to firefighters and policemen, an initiative of Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček.