This will be a rough and tumble political week

The legislature is back in session today and the best spectator sport will be watching while the Partido Liberación Nacional tries to hang on to power.

At stake is the legislative leadership for the coming year. The vote will be taken May 1, less than a week away. A bloc of opposition parties claimed to have 31 votes. That’s two more than needed to win control.

At this writing Liberación has 24 votes and two votes from two evangelical political party representatives. Liberación needs to woo away at least three votes from the opposition parties.

What is usually seen as political theater contains some real implications for expats and Costa Rican citizens.
Liberación generally supports the tax proposals of President Laura Chinchilla although some lawmakers disagree on some points.

Opposition parties generally want stricter enforcement of existing tax laws and more efforts to catch tax evaders. There is a slight problem.

Francisco Villalobos Brenes, whose official title is director general de Tributación, said he does not have the staff to increase anti-evasion efforts and he does not have the power to hire new agents. Ms. Chinchilla has instituted a hiring freeze in the executive branch.

For Ms. Chinchilla, the need for more money is critical. The current budget is based on approval of the new taxes. Her entire security plan is mainly hiring more police officers. Nearly half the current budget is financed by borrowing.

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