Committee on the Budget
About the Committee
In the history of the Parliaments of the Czechoslovak (Czech) Republic, the Committee on the Budget was established already in 1919. Its primary agenda was to discuss budgetary and financial matters. The Committee operated within the Chamber of Deputies until 1938. It was re-established after World War II within the Interim National Assembly, after which it operated as the Committee on the Budget and Economic Affairs in the National Assembly. After the establishment of the Czechoslovak Federation, a Committee on Planning and the Budget was established within the Czech National Council, which was transformed into the Committee on the Budget and Control after November 1989 and subsequently into the Committee on the Budget.
After the dissolution of the Czechoslovak Federative Republic (as of 1st January 1993), the Committee on the Budget of the Czech National Council became a body of the Chamber of Deputies. Its primary task is to discuss the proposal of the Czech state budget and the final state budgetary account. The Committee also focuses on legislative activities: it guarantees the discussion of bills on taxes, banking, the insurance system, the capital market, budgetary rules, etc.
Apart from the overall discussion of the state budget, the Committee is responsible for discussing the budget chapters on the Office of the President, the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, the Ministry of Finance, the Czech Statistical Office, the State Debt, the Operation of the State’s Financial Assets, and the General Treasury Administration. The Committee on the Budget according to the Act on Budget Regulations approves the transfers of financial means, the so-called budget measures that exceed 10% of the approved indicator.
Discussing the Bill on the State Budget
The bill on the state budget is discussed through a special procedure set by the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies. It is discussed and adopted only by the Chamber of Deputies, with the Senate not participating in its discussion. The Government presents the bill on the state budget no later than 3 months prior to the beginning of the business year. The President of the Chamber of Deputies then orders the bill to be discussed by the Committee on the Budget. The Committee on the Budget discusses the bill prior to its first reading in the plenum of the Chamber of Deputies.
In the first reading, the Chamber of Deputies discusses the principal data of the bill, including the amount of incomes and expenses, the balance settlement and its method, and the overall relations to the municipalities’ budgets. The Chamber either approves the principal data of the bill in the its first reading or recommends changes in the data to the Government, in which case the Government is obliged to prepare a new draft of the state budget.
If the plenum approves the principal data, it assigns the individual chapters of the state budget to the respective committees. The individual committees then discuss the chapters assigned to them and present their resolutions to the Committee on the Budget within a prescribed deadline. The committees’ resolutions, as well as possible opposing reports on the individual chapters of the budget, are discussed by the Committee on the Budget in the presence of rapporteurs from all the committees, which adopts a resolution on the resolutions and reports. The Committee on the Budget subsequently presents its resolution or opposing report to the plenum for the second reading of the draft of the state budget. The principal data approved during the first reading may not be changed in subsequent readings. The draft is then discussed in detail in the plenum, during which amendments or any other proposals are submitted. At the end of the third reading, the Chamber of Deputies votes on any amendments or other proposals and then decides whether to give its approval to the draft law on the state budget.
Monitoring the Government
The Committee on the Budget primarily monitors the implementation of the state budget and discusses the final state budgetary account. The Committee is entitled to summon a member of the Government, or the head of another central administrative authority not headed by a member of the Government, and request information and explanation from him/her.
Foreign Relations and Other Activities
The Committee maintains foreign contacts with partner committees in EU member states and third countries. It organises or co-organises seminars and conferences on current issues in economic legislation. The Committee’s legislative activities are mostly both the transposition of secondary EU law and recently e.g. the adoption of amendments to tax acts, the lottery act and acts on business enterprise on capital markets, on banking, on insurance and other financial acts.