Parliament accepts budget, amends constitution

Hungary’s parliament passed into law the government’s budget for 2023 in a final vote on Tuesday.

The budget was passed with 135 votes in favour and 54 votes against. It calculates with a GDP growth of 4.1%, a deficit target of 3.5% of GDP and a 5.2% inflation rate. Targeted central revenues total 31,074 billion forints (EUR 77.3bn) as against expenditure of 33,426 billion, with a projected shortfall of 2,352 billion forints. The public debt is seen falling to 73.8% of GDP by the end of next year. The budget also contains a fund with 670 billion forints to preserve the utility price caps and an 842 billion forint defence fund. The two funds will be financed from windfall taxes on sectors making excessive profits in recent years.

The government has earmarked 3,230 billion forints for family assistance, 453 billion forints more than this year. A total 4,900 billion forints will be paid out in pensions, including a 13th month pension, while bonuses will increase in line with inflation. Total defence expenditures will amount to 1,375 billion forints, while 2,670 billion forints have been allocated for health care, and 2,371 billion forints for education.

The Parliament adopted the 11th amendment to Hungary’s Fundamental Law, timing local elections in Hungary to fall on the same day as European parliamentary elections. The amendment was passed with 140 votes in favour and 36 against, with a two-thirds majority. Local mayors and councillors who obtained their mandates in 2019 will stay in their positions until October 1, 2024, the decision said. Ruling Fidesz and Christian Democrat lawmakers who submitted the proposal said co-timing the two elections would help cut costs.