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Budapest submits 2021 ‘budget of survival’

The Budapest municipality has prepared and submitted its 2021 "budget of survival", designed to face "the challenges all local governments are grappling with", Mayor Gergely Karacsony told an online press conference on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Hungarian Association of Local Governments (MOSZ), Karacsony said Budapest’s plummeting revenues were due to the coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis and government policy in equal measure.

Karacsony insisted that between falling revenues and government austerity, the 2021 budget had less funds at its disposal than in 2013.

Budapest has become a “net contributor” to the central budget, Karacsony said. He said that during the tenure of his predecessor, Istvan Tarlos, the municipality’s revenues from government support and local taxes had left the city with an 11 billion forint (EUR 30.5m) surplus. By 2021, that has plummeted to a six-billion minus, he said.

Next year’s budget ensures “with great difficulty” that the city can provide basic public services, he said.

“In order to survive 2021 … we will have to use nearly all our savings,” Karacsony said.

Budapest will not be able to provide public services in 2022 “unless the government’s approach, or the government itself, changes,” Karacsony said.

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