Czech President Vaclav Klaus has signed the state budget law for 2005. The law envisages a deficit of 84 billion Czech crowns. However, opposition parties and most economists say the deficit will be much higher, over 100 billion crowns, once the state has covered the losses of the Czech bailout agency, Ceska Konsolidacni Agentura, which primarily ensures the privatisation of state-owned companies.
Mr Klaus also signed an amendment to the income tax law on Wednesday. The new law introduces tax relief for families with children, joint taxation of married couples, and faster depreciation of assets for businesses. The government says it would help families and companies save tens of billions of crowns in the coming years.