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Villages versus cities

Just looking at the short text with a row of numbers makes Chomutov Mayar Ivan Řápková's blood boil. "Twenty million – in the best case," she says, calculating by how much the billion-crown budget of her town could shrink.

Just looking at the short text with a row of numbers makes Chomutov Mayar Ivan Řápková's blood boil. „Twenty million – in the best case,“ she says, calculating by how much the billion-crown budget of her town could shrink.

The reason behind the decrease is hidden in a chart that divides Czech towns and villages into 14 categories, according to size. The categories play an important role when it comes to the distribution of taxes collected across Bohemia and Moravia.

For years now, mayors have been criticising how the system unfairly favours bigger cities. Chomutov, which has a population of 50,000, falls exactly between two funding categories, and that creates problems. Last year there were several dozen fewer people on the city's official registry, and suddenly Chomutov representatives are having to deal with a funding decrease of tens of millions of crowns.

Today, just days after the first fiscal reform package was passed, this is a hot topic for municipalities all over the country. As part of its second round of reforms, the Finance Ministry is preparing to change the much-despised funding categories. The blueprint for a new system is just being drawn up.

This is absurd

The mayor of Chomutov wants to resolve the problem pragmatically: she is considering „buying“ an extra few residents. Within the next weeks, the city might start offering…

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