President Chinchilla defends her blanket 5,000-colon pay hike

The country is at a crossroads, and has to face situations for which the solutions have been postponed for a long time, according to President Laura Chinchilla Miranda.

She gave this summary in a bulletin the Casa Presidencial puts out periodically.

The president was defending her decision to give each public employee a 5,000-colon wage hike regardless of base salary. That’s about $10.

She said the country must go forward with responsibility and solidarity following the route of dialogue.

She held a six-hour session with union leaders Monday in an effort to head off a threatened indefinite general strike. The results of the meeting are several work groups to spend a week
to consider changes in the salaries of public employees. The president said she has to take the long view and not make decisions now that would have negative impact in the future. She said the 5,000-colon raise was aimed at helping those with the lowest salaries.

About half the national budget is borrowed money, and the president has pointed out that any salary raises also will come from borrowing.

She is trying to get lawmakers to pass a major tax increase that is estimated to bring in some $500 million to the government. Although some analysts see the tax bill as dead, lawmakers continue to discuss it periodically. The proposed law has been referred to the Sala IV constitutional court for an opinion on the process that legislative leaders are using to speed passage. Meanwhile, in little more than two months the legislative leadership will be elected again. The fate of the proposal would seem to rest on who wins the election.

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