Central government agrees to a 3.3 percent cut in 2015 budget

Faced with opposition to the national budget in the legislature, the central government agreed Monday to a 3.3 percent cut.

The announcement was greeted lukewarmly by lawmakers.

The government said it would cut 221 billion colons from the 7.95 trillion 2015 budget. That’s about 2.8 percent. In dollars that is a cut of $405.5 million from a $14.6 billion budget. Legislators had proposed a 3.8 percent cut.

President Luis Guillermo Solís is facing problems even from his own party.  Ottón Solís, also of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, is chairman of the legislative budget committee and he has been a strong voice for a lower budget. The budget has to get through his committee.

Helio Fallas, the first vice president and minister of Hacienda, announced the proposed cuts Monday afternoon.

The announcement said that the government would not affect projects to combat poverty, health, education or productive infrastructure.

The announcement said in general that the cuts would affect overtime, advertising, trips abroad and consultants.

Several lawmakers said they would wait to hear specifics. Fallas said that he agreed in theory with Ottón Solís even though his proposal to cut 300 billion from the budget had been rejected in committee.

Much of the budget is established by law and the Costa Rican Constitution, which required allocating a certain percentage of gross domestic product to specific areas like education.

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