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Feud continues over new budget

September 21st, 2011

Népszabadság discusses what it calls a ‘Houdini’ effect in cultural issues, which results in the disappearance of state subsidies. Magyar Nemzet, on the other hand, blames former left wing governments for the present crisis, and suggests changes to next year’s budget which would benefit lower wage earners.

In Népszabadság, Judit N. Kósa forecasts that Géza Szőcs, the State Secretary for Cultural Affairs will end his four year term in office without doing anything for Hungarian culture. As a result of the by now well-known budgetary constraints, funds are being withdrawn from cultural institutions, theatres and cinemas are closing down, while the State Secretary has only put forward two major ideas for the future, the author suggests. One, the building of a Museum Quarter on the edge of the City Park, will be put off to a very distant future. The other, a proposal to re-christen the Budapest Great Circus the Harry Houdini Circus, appears both more feasible, and highly symbolic, she writes. Houdini, the famous Hungarian-born magician and escape artist, sets a fine example to Géza Szőcs, “who makes public subsidies disappear from one moment to the next.”

In an editorial in Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Nánási criticises those on the left who attack next year’s budget, on the grounds that it was their government which led the country into the present crisis, during their two terms in office from 2002 to 2010. At the same time, he writes, “We dare hope that the final draft budget will contain alterations,” in the form of measures designed to be less painful for below-average earners.

According to his calculations, the planned taxation system would cause a ten thousand Forint cut in the monthly income of that category of earner, which he finds especially disturbing at a time when the same rules would reduce the fiscal burden of higher earners. The authorities should “pay more attention to the need for solidarity,” – the pro-government daily warns.