The draft law amending the rules for determining the income of local governments in connection with the changes in the Polish Governance was approved by parliamentary committees on Thursday. However, the meeting was not without controversy. The Polish amendment 2050, assuming an increase in the income of local governments from PIT, was unexpectedly adopted. Ultimately, however, approval was granted to the motion of the Law and Justice MP to withdraw the works to the state prior to the adopted amendment. Outraged MPs from the opposition described it as the classic “Witowanie” of the lost vote.
On Thursday, there was a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Public Finance Committees and the Local Government and Regional Policy Committees, which dealt with the draft act amending the rules for determining the income of local governments in connection with tax changes introduced by the government program of the Polish Order.
During the works, the opposition deputies submitted proposals to increase the amount of the additional subsidy to be granted to local governments this year, from PLN 8 billion to over PLN 12 billion. This proposal was rejected.
The Polish Order and local governments – Poland’s amendment 2050
Poland 2050 proposed to increase the share of local governments in the PIT tax. On behalf of the parliamentary group, the amendment was tabled by MP Michał Gramatyka. – Introduces three points that refer to the act on the income of local government units and increase the percentage of the share of income of these local government units in PIT in a way that compensates for the losses that local governments will incur on this stunt and controversial project that the state calls the New Deal – explained Gramatyka .
The amendment was accepted by the committee. 60 deputies took part in the vote, 32 were in favor and 28 against. The announcement of the results was accompanied by applause. – I can state that the amendment has been accepted – said Henryk Kowalczyk, PiS MP and chairman of the Public Finance Committee.
An objection to this amendment was raised by the Legislative Office of the Sejm. – The Legislative Office signaled that there is no consequence of this amendment in further legislation, that is one thing. Now, further regulations should be modified so that the adopted changes are reflected in further regulations, because there is an obvious contradiction (…) – said the representative of the Legislative Office.
In response, Paulina Hennig-Kloska from Poland 2050 announced the submission of further amendments. – We will be submitting supplements resulting from the consequences of the (adopted amendment – ed.) On an ongoing basis during the proceedings – indicated the deputy.
Ultimately, as a result of the comments made by the Legislative Office to the adopted Polish amendment 2050, Kowalczyk announced a pause “to consult these provisions”.
PiS MP: this is not a reassumption
After the break, after consultations with the Legislative Office, Michał Gramatyka proposed another amendment, which, according to the MP, was to remove doubts related to the previously adopted changes. – There is a new wording of this article (…), in which the numerical values for the shares of local government units in the income from PIT are adjusted in a way that is a derivative of the amendment adopted by the joint committees. This amendment has been consulted and its correctness has been consulted with the Legislative Office – he said. However, the amendment was not accepted by the majority of the committees. 63 MPs took part in the vote, 27 deputies voted in favor and 36 against.
Subsequently, MP Włodzimierz Tomaszewski from PiS submitted a motion to “return to the consideration of the matter”, which was to bring the Polish amendment 2050 back to the state before the vote. – This is not a reassumption, but an adaptation of the content – said Tomaszewski in response to the opposition MPs’ opposition.
Before the vote on the motion of the PiS MP, Marek Sowa from the Civic Coalition took the floor. – Mr. Chairman, I understand that you have a proven system, the so-called Witowanie, but I am expressing my objection here firmly – he said.
On August 11, during the session of the Sejm, at which, inter alia, lex TVN was adopted, there was a controversial reassumption of the vote on the motion to adjourn the meeting. First, the Sejm accepted this motion, but after the break extended several times, the Sejm Marshal Elżbieta Witek from Law and Justice ordered a reassumption of the vote, which was supported by 229 deputies, with one vote against and one abstention. In another vote, the Sejm rejected the motion to adjourn the session.
Marshal Witek, explaining then her decision on the reassumption, said that during the break she “consulted five lawyers” on the subject. A few days later, the Sejm Information Center published the opinions that Marshal Witek was to “consult”. All five opinions are dated April 2018. The marshal herself showed them during an interview on government television.
Finally, the motion of Włodzimierz Tomaszewski from PiS was approved by the majority of the committees – 37 deputies voted in favor, 29 were against. Acceptance made the committees go back to the moment before the vote of the Polish amendment 2050 to increase the share of local governments in local government revenues, and then rejected it.
Poland 2050 on the behavior of PiS
The members of the Polska 2050 club referred to this situation during a press conference after the meeting of the joint committees. – What does PiS do when it loses the vote? Of course, PiS is announcing a reassumption and we have seen such a reassumption today. On the border of the law, methods similar to those used by Marshal Witek for a few weeks were used. The vote has been reversed and only a mention remains after our amendment. The memory was also PLN 11 billion for local governments, which was to be a compensation for the hole caused by the Polish Order – said Michał Gramatyka.
According to Hanna Gill-Piątek, MP of Poland 2050, “this amendment was simply suppressed by PiS and wasted”. Earlier, the MP wrote on Twitter: “PiS, at the request of MP Tomaszewski, crashes the vote on granting local governments more compensation for the Polish Order, which we won with the Grammar amendment. With this move, local governments take about PLN 11 billion. Polish local government officials will remember that.”
Paulina Hennig-Kloska assessed that the behavior of Law and Justice politicians at the Thursday meeting of the committee “clearly shows that PiS is weakening and stumbles over its own legs”, losing votes not only in the plenary but also in parliamentary committees. – This is not the first committee in which PiS has lost the vote – the deputy noted.
The MPs of Poland in 2050 emphasized that in their opinion the draft act debated in the committee hits local governments, as it assumes a reduction in their tax revenues, without reducing the scope of their activities and expenses.
Main photo source: TVN24