Gabor Kovacs

Out of every 100 forints, 2 went to sports and 1 to debt. Public health spending increased the most, with 12 times the amount originally planned. Debt-related spending tripled rapidly, but spending on sports nearly doubled.

The country’s central budget is not transparent, thanks to, among other things, the fact that the government constantly adjusts it even before it goes into effect. At present, there are more and more question marks in the final reports on the implementation of the budget, for example, the government has allocated funds from the framework of one thousand billion dollars to control the epidemic on the basis of non-public individuals. Decisions – and calculations do not reveal exactly for what purpose.

The effects of the epidemic crisis are clearly visible

In the budget, all the appropriations should be named for the public function to which they belong – for example, expenditure on sports and recreation in the construction of the stadium, expenditure on health in a resource designated for the hospital, etc. Thus, the final accounts show how much money went into each government job in the previous year, how much represents total government spending, and how much it relates to GDP.

Unsurprisingly, the epidemic has completely outpaced public finances (this includes government and its affiliated institutions, independent financial funds, tuberculosis funds, and local governments). The state has spent more than planned on nearly every job—along with shrinking GDP, public debt has risen to 80 percent of GDP.

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Expenditures for the main functional group called Other Economic Activities increased by 80 percent, to HUF 2,000 billion instead of HUF 1.1 trillion. Although the Hungarian state has been narrow in international comparison when it comes to crisis management (it was mostly solved by increased lending), at the same time, of course, economic expenditures also increased.

At the main group level, it was the second largest increase in health-related expenditures, with expenditures being 1.5 times the plan. The increase was also the largest in terms of quantity, going to the region with another thousand billion. Within this, spending on public health activities and services increased the most. Moreover, it is by far the largest within the sub-categories, with spending of HUF 586 billion instead of the planned HUF 48 billion, a 12-fold increase.

Priorities at NER: Sports and Religion

In third place was the main functional group called leisure, cultural and religious activities and services. The volume of spending also increased 1.5 times, and the state spent 1.7 thousand billion instead of the planned 1.1 thousand billion.

Spending on sports, leisure, religion (belief) and culture is aggregated here. Moreover, party activities – there are few jobs achieved in 2020 less than planned, this is one. This is also not surprising, as the government has halved party support citing the pandemic.

From the point of view of public finances, it is a small amount of money, half of which managed to save 1.3 billion HUF.

The state did not spare the churches, instead of the planned 73 billion, 229 billion were allocated to credit activities, which is three times the planned amount. Instead of 292 billion, 528 billion went to sports, almost double the planned amount.

The state’s generous grants to sports and religion is not an unexpected development – although there may be some setback in the middle of the pandemic, even if sports-recreational activities are included in sports – the Hungarian state has spent a lot on these jobs for years. Not only in comparison with other features, but also in EU comparison. After all these years, surprisingly, budgets are still planned with relatively low spending on sports and debt – which is completely exceeded every year.

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Cake arrangement

In terms of the distribution of public spending—how thick each job slice is within the pie and compared to one another—there has also been a significant rearrangement of what was planned. The whole pie became bigger: the state spent 5,000 billion forints more than expected.

The segment of social security and welfare services (including, but not limited to, pensions, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, and all kinds of social benefits) has become thinner than other services – besides the fact that it has also become larger per kilogram, i.e. in fort Hungarian. Other economic and healthcare activities have seen a massive increase in spending on the crisis.


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