Vienna, 23 August 2012 Fekter: Enhanced “debt burden check” to prevent mushrooming costs Fekter in favour of a law against financially onerous “election-year pork”

Austrian Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter is in favour of a proposal requiring an enhanced debt burden check on all new legislative proposals.

The law already requires that new legislative proposals include a statement of what the new legislation will cost and of the expected costs over the longer term. Finance Minister Dr Fekter envisages that this principle might be expanded on in future, requiring an express statement in each item of legislation detailing the impacts of the legislative measure in question on the state debt burden. “This enhanced debt burden check on legislative proposals is intended to prevent mushrooming costs and to increase awareness of the costs of legislation”, Dr Fekter said.

In particular, the proposal is intended to prevent the proposal of costly projects that will again generate higher levels of debt just before elections. “The practice of adding pork to the budget just before elections is one Austria has been paying dearly for, and it is not tenable. By enhancing debt burden checks on legislation, we will require those who would like to use pork barrel election tactics to come up with specific financing proposals on the spot”, Dr Fekter stated. 

In closing, Dr Fekter emphasised: “The era of government pork – particularly just before elections – is over. We have to proceed step-by-step to reduce our debt, because this is the only way we can ensure the future viability of the country and guarantee stability, security and a comfortable standard of living over the long term.”