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Lithuanian Parliament has Reviewed Budget for 2024

Lithuania’s Parliament, Seimas, wrapped up its initial review of the 2024 state budget, sparking a heated debate between the ruling party and the opposition.

The ruling party champions the budget as fair and comprehensive, aiming to boost income, fortify national security, and drive future investments. Yet, the opposition contends that the government missed a chance to create a more forward-looking budget for their term’s end.

Committee reports unveiled diverse opinions among Seimas members. The document awaits government adjustments, with a second review and final vote slated for later dates.

Mindaugas Lingė, the Budget and Finance Committee Chair, defends the budget, citing income growth plans and enhanced security measures. Conversely, the opposition deems the budget inadequate, predicting a looming financial crisis due to unrealized tax reforms and growing social commitments.

The debate questions whether the government maximized its final budget opportunity. There’s disappointment among critics like Vytautas Gapšys, who expected a transformative plan but sees the budget as a mere patch-up job.

Vytautas Mitalas acknowledges the budget’s €2 billion surplus but calls for better spending strategies.

Lingė highlights the budget’s provisions for minimum wage and non-taxable income increases, translating to extra income for low earners. The plan also includes substantial allocations for culture, education, healthcare, and public services, with indexed social support and significant pension hikes.

Concerns arise about mounting national debt and future financial limitations, prompting calls for fiscal discipline.

The budget, aimed at fulfilling diverse needs, adjusts for road funding, pushing the deficit to 3% of GDP to comply with European financial rules.

The proposal prioritizes pensions, social payments, teacher raises, and aid for Ukraine amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

As debates continue, the budget’s final form will significantly shape Lithuania’s financial trajectory, reflecting a balance between progress and fiscal prudence.