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Venezuela: Factoids about the proposed 2006 budget

By Miguel Octavio | The Devil's Excrement

23.10.05 | It is the largest budget in the country's history both as a percentage of GDP (35%) or in absolute terms in US$ at US$ 40.46 billion.

-- It is six times larger in local currency than Chavez first budget in 1999.

-- It assumes oil prices of US$ 26 with production of 3.4 million barrels of oil a day (dream on!). In any case, the reason for underestimating is simple, money to the regional Governments is given out in terms of expected revenues. Thus, they will get less than what the law says. (What else is new?)

-- Funding for housing is budgeted at Bs. 205 billion (US$ 950 million), while Presidential Expenses are budgeted at Bs. 243 billion (US$ 1.1 billion), up 72%. I guess he has to pay too many $4800 a night suites to go to useless summits, like he did in Salamanca. Yes, it is bad being rich!

-- Tax collection will come from Indirect Taxes 76.5% (US$ 12.6 billion), corporate taxes 21.8% (US$ 3.59 billion) and personal taxes 1.7% (US$ 283 million), which shows what a terrible tax system we have, where most taxes are collected from everyone via the VAT tax, but personal taxes are tiny. Is this fair? I don't think so, but it is easier to collect it thus way. Revolutionary!

-- The Ministry of Defense will get Bs. 584 billion (US$ 2.71 billion), continuing a long tradition of buying expensive and useless toys for men who have no idea how to use them and will likely not mantain them at all. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

-- US$ 6 billion will be spent via the newly created Development Fund (Foden). None of it is specified in the budget. You could call it Chavez' petty cash fund.

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