Austria’s parliament came within moments of slashing its annual spending limit to peanuts after someone omitted the key words “figures in millions” from its national budget bill.
Government spending in the mid-European nation came close to being capped at just €102,389.24 (£91,684.44 or $114,106.15 at current rates) until a sharp-eyed MP realised and pointed out the blunder immediately before the final vote to approve the budget.
Jan Krainer, of the country’s Social Democrats party, spotted that a key table in the proposed budget bill lacked the words “figures in millions”, meaning Austria’s government would have had annual spending powers just large enough to buy two new Mercedes-Benz cars, with enough change to provide a McDonald’s burger and milkshake for each member of the parliament.
Local news site Puls 24 reported: “After Krainer’s speech, part of the plenary [parliamentary session] turned into a kind of football stadium, the other opposition parties also enjoyed the alleged lapses,” adding that Krainer’s Social Democrat colleagues were “hooting” from their benches.
Another local MP posted a snippet on Twitter that appeared to be the offending table in question.
— Karin Doppelbauer (@DoppelbauerK) May 28, 2020
“What do you actually do for a living, minister of finance?” jeered Karin Doppelbauer of the left-liberal NEOS party.
As for Krainer, a verified Twitter account in his name tweeted last night, (in response to the question “What’s the best thing you said to someone today?”), “In Ihrem Budget fehlen sechs Nullen.” Roughly translated? “There are six zeros missing from your budget.” ®