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Karácsony to Gov’t’s Offer: “What if You Wouldn’t Take Our Money Away?”

Hungary Today 2020.10.29.

In the wake of the government’s offer for the takeover of the financing of certain large-scale developments, the Budapest mayor criticized the move. He would rather the government not take away funds from the capital, but instead have those representatives who were voted in by the capital’s residents make decisions and oversee developments 

It was made public on Tuesday that the Orbán government decided to offer the capital an initial round of HUF 60 billion (EUR 164.4 million) in relief, if the government could take over the financing of a number of big municipal projects. The offer includes the Biodome in City Park, the Gellért Hill funicular, the extension of the tram network in Buda, the expansion of the Etele Square bus station, and a project that would partially pedestrianize the Pest embankment road.

Gergely Karácsony, however, wants the central government to stop taking money away from the municipality. In his public reaction on Facebook, he first cited the Finance Minister, who had earlier claimed that the government aimed to remedy the coronavirus crisis by reducing taxes instead of raising them. Karácsony then wrote that it was still Mihály Varga’s suggestion for the government to “more than triple the municipal tax imposed on Budapest’s municipality.” According to Karácsony, this means that nearly HUF 100 billion (EUR 271.1 million) would be taken out of the pockets of the capital and from Budapesters during this ongoing electoral term.

“Then today State Secretary Balázs Fürjes appears and generously offers a little more than half of this amount in the form of investments made by the government. Now let’s not speak about the fact that almost none of the government’s promises made to the capital have been fulfilled so far. Anything can be discused with us that interests the city, even this. But for heaven’s sake, what if you just wouldn’t take the capital’s money? And then the decision on capital developments could be up to those who were entrusted by the Budapest voters, and not up to those who weren’t voted for.”

featured image via Zoltán Máthé/MTI