After heated debates the Polish parliament has passed the budget for 2020, billed as the country’s first balanced budget, in more or less the same shape as the draft.
The government envisages balancing spending of PLN 435.3 bn (EUR 102 bn). After referring a long list of amendments to the the Financial Committee yesterday, only a handful of additions were made to the bill, which were all government proposals.
The final changes included giving more money to cancer treatment. After much to-ing and fro-ing it was agreed to put extra duty on spirits sold in 100 and 200 ml bottles of alcohol, ostensibly to help fight the growing phenomenon of people buying a pocket-sized bottle of vodka on the way to their work.
The government is aiming to make a swoop of around PLN 500,000 (EUR 160,00) per annum, by imposing an additional PLN 1.5 (EUR 0.34) on these little bottles, known locally as “monkeys”, due to the merry after-effect of swiftly downing their contents.
A last-minute intervention of the US embassy on behalf of its food manufacturers fell on deaf ears as the tax on sugary foods has been passed, which is thought to generate PLN 3 bn (EUR 700,000). The budget assumes growth of 3.7 percent and inflation of 2.5 percent for 2020. Growth and more stringent tax collection is to support increases in social spending. The debates on spending are not over yet, as the bill has still to be debated in the opposition-controlled Senate, and if passed, will need signing by the President.