2006 to bring higher social benefits, more expensive utilities
This Sunday, New Years Day, will find many Czechs - like people around the world - making New Year's resolutions. But they won't have any say over some changes, which have been decided by Parliament and come into effect on the 1st. Understandably, people are most concerned about those which will have a direct impact on their wallets. 2006 is going to bring an increase in a number of social benefits and also a reduction in taxes for low and medium incomes. But as of January, Czechs will pay more for utilities - which is expected to bring further price increases of goods and services.
Under a new law on income taxes, people who earn less than 20,000 crowns (820 dollars) a month will save some 4,000 crowns a year. For people with salaries below 30,000 crowns a month, taxes will be reduced by almost 3,000 crowns a year. The average monthly wage in 2006 is expected to exceed 20,000 crowns (820 dollars).
Energy costs for companies will be higher, too. Those are expected to result in higher prices of goods and services. Analysts predict they should be balanced out by growing salaries and lower taxes. In a year's time Czechs will see whether their calculations were right.