The National Council’s budget marathon started on Tuesday with self-praise from the government and sharp criticism from the opposition. The accompanying budget law, which aims to guarantee the financing of 100 posts for statutory health insurers, must be adopted on the first day. The budget itself will not be adopted until Thursday.
ÖVP club president August Wöginger praised the improved purchasing power and falling inflation in Austria. A visitor clearly saw it differently, he threw a shirt from the gallery into the ÖVP ranks and shouted “shame”. The man said it was his “last shirt” – according to the broadcast he was a minimum pensioner and a member of the “Change” party. “It is a good development that we are going through,” Wöginger nevertheless said. The government continues to invest in ‘future areas’ such as childcare, science and transforming the economy.
High praise from the Greens
Green Party leader Sigrid Maurer also received a lot of praise for the budget. This focuses on the topics of climate and transformation – “It makes a difference whether the Greens are in government,” Maurer said. She praised sustainable investments in the economy and, among other things, increased budgets for justice and democracy, but also for women.
Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said there is reason to be optimistic about the future. He pointed out that forecasts for next year would show growth again. The anti-inflation relief measures would have worked. At the same time, he acknowledged the financial equalization that is about to be completed with more money for health and care, for example. The government also proves how climate and economic policies can be reconciled.
The opposition criticizes new debts
The opposition parties, who mainly focus on the new debts, see this very differently. The draft budget provides for expenditure of EUR 123.5 billion and revenue of EUR 102.6 billion for 2024. This results in a loss of 20.9 billion euros.
SPÖ club president Philip Kucher spoke of record inflation and record debts and criticized the government’s failure to intervene in the market with price-lowering measures in the wake of rising prices. NEOS chairman Beate Meinl-Reisinger called the budget ‘forget the future’ and criticized the government’s ‘watering can policy’. Austria does not have a revenue problem, but rather an expenditure problem. She called for tax cuts. The budget would also miss the climate targets.
FPÖ President Herbert Kickl identified a “hara-kiri budget” and the “largest debt mountain of all time”. In a comprehensive attack on political competition, he accused the SPÖ of fueling inflation with its policies. Kickl received a call-to-order for the statement that ex-chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ) was a ‘thick red spider’ in his network because of his work at Signa Holding, founded by René Benko.
I am Ida Scott, a journalist and content author with a passion for uncovering the truth. I have been writing professionally for Today Times Live since 2020 and specialize in political news. My career began when I was just 17; I had already developed a knack for research and an eye for detail which made me stand out from my peers.