Budget 2023: the executive and the senatorial right are battling on the deficit trajectory

Posted Nov 25, 2022, 8:22 AM

Who is the most serious in terms of public deficit? The Senate adopted Thursday evening the first part devoted to the receipts of the finance bill for 2023 offering the opportunity for a new skirmish between the government and the right-wing senatorial majority around their credibility in terms of control of public accounts.

The section adopted by the senators results in a text that has been largely reworked compared to the initial copy of the government. First victim, the reduction in production taxes (CVAE) wanted by the executive, which was finally deleted after a miss from the senatorial right who only wanted to amend this government reform. Above all, parliamentarians have expanded the measures devoted to local authorities, in particular by strengthening the “safety net” put on the table by Bercy to compensate for the increase in energy costs.

Credibility issue

All this resulted in a rather heavy bill for public finances. Bercy had thus calculated that the deficit should be raised to 5.2% of GDP next year (against a forecast of 5% in the government project) in view of all the amendments voted. Senators have lowered inheritance tax for 2 billion euros, reduced several VAT rates (on public transport in particular, but also margarine or the equine sector) for 700 million or raised the tax credit for childcare. 250 million children.

This poses a problem of credibility for the senatorial right, which continues to criticize the government for its lack of ambition in deficit reduction. Just before the final vote, the senators therefore removed by a second deliberation several costly amendments (in particular that on inheritance rights) or badly targeted.

In the end, the deficit therefore stands at 4.9% of this first examination of the Senate. “This is done only on the backs of companies, since this reduction in the deficit is based on the abolition of the reduction in the CVAE, otherwise the deficit would be at 5.1%”, lashed Gabriel Attal, the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts . A way to put LR at odds, which has allowed itself to be overwhelmed by the left when it is in favor of lowering production taxes.

New 49.3 coming soon

The Bercy tenant also joked about the fact that the Senate voted for a budget trajectory for 2027 which provides for a 4.6% deficit from 2023. “This means that you will have to take another 10 billion euros. euros in savings on credits, we are waiting for you to tell us where”, he attacked. The general rapporteur for the Budget (LR) in the Senate Jean-François Husson repelled these attacks. “I’m not sure that one or the other has lessons to give in this area,” he said.

The Senate began on Thursday evening to examine the second part of the finance bill devoted to expenditure, while the final vote for the entire text is scheduled for December 6. The budget will then go back to the Assembly, where the government should again resort to 49.3 to adopt it. Gabriel Attal has already warned that he will restore the reduction in production taxes on this occasion.

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