Andras Domani

The fourteenth month’s pension and free motorway are also included in the measures.

While the pro-government majority in the Warsaw parliament wants to exclude its political opponents from public life with a commission investigating “Russian influence” on the basis of a hotly contested law that many consider unconstitutional, voted 234:219 on Friday afternoon, there have been Also nearly unanimous decisions on the same day. According to the promises of Yaroslav Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling party, the 14th monthly pension, which was paid only occasionally, was completed, and the use of state highways was made free of charge.

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In Poland, the affected people do not receive a monthly amount from their pension, but a standardized minimum pension. As of March, this was a total of 1,588 zlotys (about 130,000 Swiss francs), from which 12% of social security contributions and 9% of health insurance contributions are deducted. Moreover, this only applies to pensions below 2,900 zlotys (about 240,000 HUF), it decreases above that, and those receiving benefits above 4,200 zlotys do not receive them at all. This decision will lead to spending of 10 billion zlotys (820 billion forints) in the extra budget this year.

Free motorways are more of a gesture than a factor, as there are currently only two sections of toll roads totaling 260 km owned by the state. If the law comes into effect, motorists can save 10 and 16 zlotys (820 and 1,300 forints) on these, respectively. Thus, of course, the road fund’s income also decreases, but the government argues that they can save on the cost of collecting tolls. There are also three privately owned roads with a total concession of 460 km, which the government is considering expropriating. About 600 km of highways are currently empty.

The government’s largesse before the election—for example, the 14th month’s pension would be paid shortly before the October election—put the opposition in a difficult position. The political atmosphere is indeed very bad, the ruling parties describe their opponents as traitors and foreign mercenaries, and Jaroslav Kaczynski declared in his last speech that the victory of the opposition would mean the end of Poland. In such cases, it is impossible to analyze the costs of the new cuts and the budgetary justification for the steps, as opponents can be accused of voting against the welfare of the people. It worked: both of the aforementioned bills were passed by Parliament with over 90% support. It also makes it impossible for the opposition to withdraw anything from it in the event of a possible victory, though unlikely at the moment, regardless of the state of the budget.

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