Vienna, 12.10.2016 Words do not pay debts – only actions bring results Austrian Minister of Finance presents 2017 budget to the National Council

Austrian Minister of Finance Dr. Hans Jörg Schelling began his second budget speech with a clear rejection of new taxes and debt. In the National Council, Schelling declared it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to be a careful and disciplined protector of every tax euro, battle to clean up the damage from previous years and create a financial foundation for a successful future.

“In everyday language, my policy is: reduce the debt, reduce expenditures and reduce taxes”, said Schelling, expressing his intention to continue to follow the path laid out in his budget speech last year and referring to the initial significant successes already achieved. “The debt level is dropping thanks to resolution of the shocking Hypo-Alpe-Adria matter, the tax reform is taking effect and expenditures are falling thanks to strict budget discipline, and we are slowly moving upwards again one level at a time in international rankings.”

For the Minister of Finance, the budget is “not just an accounting problem, it is also a responsibility for the future.” In spite of enormous budget challenges, important aggressive measures and future investments in innovation, research and security were once again secured for 2017.

Schelling stressed that the fiscal and budgetary policies of a country are also closely related to psychology. “By that, I mean the confidence that society and the business sector feel in government. What is needed now, therefore, is a calm, rational, solution-oriented government. A government that deserves the confidence of the people”, according to Schelling. The budget is the central element of such a government. “A good budget must therefore fulfil three requirements. It must be economical, forward-looking and adequate. Those were my guiding principles for the 2017 budget”, stated the Minister of Finance.

Schelling’s top priority continues to be government reorganising the expenditure side of the budget and maintaining a balanced budget in the future. “We all know what is needed. A budget without new debt that creates surpluses and gives us the freedom to pursue an active budget policy”, Schelling explained.

Key figures for the 2017 budget

Revenues: EUR 73.16 billion
Expenditures: EUR 77.46 billion
Maastricht deficit, all levels of government: -1.2%
Structural deficit: 0.5%
Debt-to-GDP ratio: 80.9% (2.3% decrease; 2016: 83.2%)