Hungarian opposition parties have jointly declared their objection to the Orbán government “bleeding dry local councils” and its “irresponsible epidemic handling and crisis management”. “Robbing our cities is not governance,” according to the statement issued by the opposition alliance on Thursday, signed by party leaders András Fekete-Győr (Momentum), Ferenc Gyurcsány (Democratic Coalition), Péter Jakab (Jobbik), Ágnes Kunhalmi and Bertalan Tóth (Socialists), Tímea Szabó and Gergely Karácsony (Párbeszéd), Erzsébet Schmuck and Máté Kanász-Nagy (LMP). The statement accuses the government of “abandoning government responsibility in the hardest of times as well as millions of Hungarians”. It also charges the government with using public funds to support its own clientele rather than handling the epidemic and “the economic crisis”, spending “hundreds of billions” on stadiums, motorsports and the prime minister’s residence.
The opposition alliance said halving local business taxes would not provide meaningful help to troubled businesses but it would jeopardise public services provided by local councils across the country by depriving them of vital revenue, forcing many into bankruptcy. The statement says local councils run by the opposition would have to contend with austerity imposed by the central government seven times as severe as that affecting Fidesz-led councils. Further, a “vast majority” of county seats run by opposition mayors were excluded from central compensation funding, it added. Fully, 2.5 million Hungarians living in opposition-run areas would suffer as a result, they said.
Ruling Fidesz in a statement said the opposition’s actions had been “shameful all year”. This year, the opposition obstructed all decisions necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic and withheld their vote for the law allocating the funds for it, the statement said. They also “lied throughout the year, produced fake videos and fake news”, it said. Meanwhile, the government is providing all necessary support for the protection efforts and to protect Hungarian families and jobs, it said. Halving the business tax aims at protecting SMEs and thereby local jobs, the statement said. The government is also allocating significant funds to local governments, and had freed them from a total of 1,300 billion forints (EUR 35.6bn) of debt accumulated under leftist governments, the statement added.