Parliamentarians voted two laws which create a 1 billion euro gap to the budget, by mistake: they voted for a 5% VAT tax for basic food products and that pensions below 2,000 lei should not be taxed. Hungarian Democrat deputy PM declared that the state's budget cannot afford these measures. On a lighter note, authorities plan to close the oldest railway in Romania.
Most newspapers on Thursday read about the mistake of the Parliamentarians, who passed two laws ruling a 5% VAT for food products and no taxes for pensions below 2,000 lei. Gandul reads that these measures might cost the budget about 1 billion euro.
Now, the governing party hopes that President Basescu will save them and return the two laws in the Parliament. Prompted about the measures passed in the Parliament, IMF Romania chief of mission Jeffrey Franks avoided a clear cut answer, saying that the budget was already set for 2011 with the IMF and that the governing party needs to make sure that the necessary measures to achieve it are implemented.
Romania's representative to the IMF, Mihai Tanasescu declared that such measures were never on the agenda with the IMF and such a decision must be analyzed carefully.
In an interview for a news television, Hungarian Democrat deputy PM Marko Bela declared that the two laws are popular measures but that the budget cannot afford them at the moment.
The vote was cast out of mistake, not of stupidity, Bela told the press. He explained that the governing party will request an evaluation of the money entailed by the two measures which will decide whether the measures will be kept or not.
It usually is discipline in the Parliament, but this time there was no debate on the issues before the vote, and leaders of the parties did not announce what was on the table. Neither did those who set the agenda for the day, Bela explained.
Romania libera reads that authorities plan to close the oldest railway in Romania, at Oravita - Anina West Romania. Locals complain that if closed, the railway will become a ruin. The last locomotive on a steam engine and the railway linking Oravita to Anina, a unique place in the country is on the verge of being shut down.
Recently authorities celebrated 154 years since its existence as it was built in 1854 and was owned by the Austrian railways.