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Magyar Hírlap attacks Matolcsy

September 26th, 2011

In a commentary which borders on the offensive, Magyar Hírlap compares the government’s economic policies to those of its left-wing predecessors.

National Economy Minister György Matolcsy announced on Friday (September 16) that the government would raise Hungary’s VAT rate from 25% to 27%. Employers’ health care contributions will be raised by 1.5 per cent, insurers will pay a special tax on frequent accidents, while the levy on company cars will be raised by 40%. All in all, the aim is to increase budget receipts by HUF 450 billion. On the expenditure side, the 2012 budget envisages a cut of HUF 300 billion.

As BudaPost has reported several times, Magyar Hírlap has been unusually critical of the government’s fiscal policy recently. It may appear surprising that a staunchly pro-government daily consistently disapproves of the flat income tax introduced last year, but by doing so the paper reflects the openly confessed opinion of its owner.  In an interview in his own daily a few weeks ago, industrial tycoon Gábor Széles suggested that the Ministry of Finance should be restored (it was merged into the Ministry of the Economy last year).  Last Thursday, deputy editor Gergely Huth demanded that the Minister of Economy submit to the supervision of a financial expert. “Good ideas should not be foiled just because the chief magician’s calculator is out of order,” – he remarked. And now, in the weekend issue, chief business analyst Csaba Szajlai criticizes the government for following the same policy of restrictions and tax increases pursued by former Socialist cabinets. “The government’s economic policy is characterised by hasty improvisations and decisions without preliminary impact studies,” – writes Csaba Szajlai. The country still lacks “a consistent and conservative economic policy,” he writes.

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