“We had about six or seven A3 papers written in very small print, where we had all the subsidies identified with how much is in this year’s budget and what is the assumption for next year and the year after that. We went through this in great detail for about five weeks. First, all members of the government got an idea of the characteristics of subsidies in individual departments, whether it goes to the non-profit sector, municipalities or the business sector. And then we agreed with the ministers on how much we would save in which chapter,” said Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) in an interview for Právo a Novinky last May about the austerity package being prepared at the time.
It might seem that there is nothing on an ordinary list of several pages, on which all the grant titles that companies or institutions can apply for or could have applied for at a given time are comprehensively written down. However, the Ministry of Finance repeatedly refused to release it to Novinka, which requested the document with regard to the public interest.
We make the law accordingly, so it’s secret
The resort justified the rejection of the request by the fact that it is a basis for the creation of a law, specifically a government consolidation package, which is supposed to improve the balance of the state budget by 97.7 billion crowns in 2024.
SAO: The Czech Republic can’t handle subsidies, their redistribution swallowed tens of billions
“The requested information is background information. The obliged entity refused to provide the requested information on the basis of protection against interference with the legitimate interest of the obliged entity in the preparation of legislative proposals notified in the presented healed package,” Stanjura agreed with the previous argumentation of his department in the August rejection of the dissolution, i.e. the last possibility to overturn the ministry’s decision by non-judicial means .
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News believes that the public has a general right to know in what volume and where public funds flow from taxpayers’ pockets as part of the national subsidy policy, especially at a time when certain taxes are being increased and measures are being introduced to reduce the state budget deficit. Therefore, after repeated rejection of the request by the Ministry of Finance, in August of last year they filed a lawsuit against the department at the Prague Municipal Court. However, he has now, after months of decision-making, sided with the state institution, calling the lawsuit “unfounded.”
“The court does not deny that some facts indicated the provision of the required information, but in summary it came to the conclusion that the defendant did not have to provide the information, as it was background information for the preparation of the bill on the state budget, which had not been submitted by the time the contested decision was issued.” stands at the end of the municipal court’s verdict from the end of January.
Subsidy economy, declared the head of the SAO
Politicians and experts often comment on the overblown subsidy system. For example, the president of the Supreme Audit Office (NAO), Miroslav Kala, spoke about it last year for Novinky.
“We see that the state is handing out subsidies by the handful to all parties, but it is not at all interested in whether the funds are useful or not. The Czech Republic has transitioned from a market economy to a so-called subsidy economy,” Kala said at the time.