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Head of the tax authority intervenes in gas prices

November 16th, 2017

A conservative and a pro-government pundit disagree whether the tax authority’s personal intervention in fuel prices is in-line with the tacit rules of democracy.

Following complaints from individuals from his hometown Mezőkövesd, András Tállai, Secretary of State for Parlamentary Affairs and Taxation announced that he had negotiated fuel prices with the MOL oil company. According to the complaints, prices at Mezőkövesd gas stations were ten per cent higher than the national average. Tállai said that as a result of his talks, MOL cut petrol prices.

In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Erdősi welcomes lower fuel prices, but cautions against such intervention in the market. The conservative columnist finds it highly problematic that the head of the tax authority uses his personal influence to selectively lower fuel prices. Such mediation, Erdősi claims, should be done through institutional channels rather than through personal intervention by state officials. Erdősi fears that the State Secretary’s voluntaristic action cannot be squared with basic democratic procedures, and may also distort market dynamics.

Magyar Idők’s Árpád Nagy, on the other hand, welcomes Mr Tállai’s initiative. The pro-government commentator agrees with Prime Minister Orbán who gave full marks to Mr Tállai, and called for broader fuel price cuts. Nagy adds that the State Secretary’s action serves the interests of his voters in Mezőkövesd, and consequently, boosts his own popularity.