Finance ministry officials are supposed to make a formal presentation today of the 2016 budget proposal.
The event will be in the legislature at 1 p.m. A formal ceremony is planned. The Costa Rican Constitution says that the budget must be presented by Sept. 1, and lawmakers must act on it by Nov. 30.
Last year Ottón Solís of the Partido Acción Ciudadana was highly critical of the president’s proposal, and his comments and those of other lawmakers caused the central government to effect major cuts. This year, Ottón Solís appears satisfied with the proposal by President Luis Guillermo Solís.
Not everyone is. Even before the formal presentation, Rolando González Ulloa of the Partido Liberación Nacional took issue with the president’s claim that the budget was just a half a percent higher than this years. That still makes the spending proposal the largest in the history of Costa Rica, he said. The number in the budget clash with reality, he said during the legislative session Monday.
The session today will involve the acting finance minister, José Francisco Pacheco, who is serving while Vice President Helio Fallas recovers from surgery on his achilles tendon. Pacheco also is expected to be the administration’s point man in trying to get the budget approved.
The new budget anticipates passage of a value-added tax and higher income tax rates.
There does not seem to be any major cuts. On television Sunday night President Solís said that a program to make the use of digital signatures more widespread had been frozen to save money.
The budget will be sent to a legislative committee where the details will be considered.
Nearly half of recent budgets were paid with borrowing, which is why Costa Rica has so much debt service each year.