The message had been prepared in accordance with Article 170 of the Budget Code of the Russian Federation, and contained a review of the budget policy in 2002 and early 2003 and the key problems that need to be urgently addressed. It formulates the budgetary policy tasks for the following year and for the medium term, guidelines for the tax policy and ways for more efficient budgetary spending and improving the relations between different budget levels.
The document describes improving the well-being of the people and ensuring sustained economic growth, a long-term focus and improving the tax system as the main budget policy tasks for 2004 and for the medium term.
The course for easing the tax burden will continue in 2004. The value added tax (VAT) may be cut from 20% to 18%, the system of taxing property may change and measures will be taken to spend budgetary money more efficiently.
The main transformations will take place in the spheres of education, public health and in the justice system. A new system of recruiting servicemen for the armed forces under contract is to be phased in.
The message stresses that the improvement of relations between budgets of different levels and the process of delimiting financial powers between the federal and regional governments must be accompanied by greater independence of the local government bodies while the federal bodies must perform their functions more effectively.