Bulgarian MPs Resume 2013 Budget Vote
Bulgarian Members of the Parliament are voting Thursday on the 2013 State budget after adjourning the session at 10 pm Wednesday.
In the first day of the budget vote, after heated debates, the MPs passed the budget of the National Health Fund (NZOK), of the State Public Coverage, and the budget frame, and started working on the State budget.
Under the 2013 NZOK budget, health insurance contribution was kept at 8%. The NZOK debate caused the most clashes between MPs from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB and those from the opposition. The latter proposed to introduce a lower fee for retired people for a general practitioner exam, but it was rejected.
The first intention was to stop the session at 8 pm, which was later extended to midnight, and finally the MPs left slightly after 10 pm after the debate turned lifeless.
127 MPs were registered for the session and only 100 voted, out of the 240 total. The leaders of the opposition parties were not present, prompting Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, to say the opposition was tired and most were likely already drunk at this late hour.
Planned revenues in the 2013 budget are BGN 18.4 B – of them, BGN 16.6 B from taxes, and the expenditures are BGN 19.2 B – of them the funds owed to the EU amount to BGN 908 M, transfers – to BGN 10 B, and other expenditures – BGN 8.1, thus the budget gap in 2013 will be BGN 802.6 M.
The opposition, left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, presented an alternative budget plan, asking to increase the forecasted revenue from tax collection, particularly from excise duties.
The MPs also passed the subsidies for the State-owned Bulgarian National Television, BNT (BGN 70 M), Bulgarian National Radio, BNR (BGN 42 M) and the BTA news agency (BGN 4 M).