President’s budget pitchman goes on televison to promote the plan

The acting finance minister, José Francisco Pacheco, carried the message to the public Sunday night defending the proposed central government budget for 2016 and promoting the need for new taxes.

Pacheco said that only 4 percent of the budget could be managed by the administration. The rest is established by law or the constitution.  He also noted that payment on debt made up about a third of the budget.

His presentation was an effort to obtain public support for the budget, which is being considered by lawmakers now. He listed popular programs that should not be cut.

His presentation is correct in that many laws are passed establishing expenditures based on a percentage of gross national product rather than specific amounts.

As Pacheco noted, to make changes with these programs would required changing laws or the Costa Rican Constitution.

We cannot postpone the obligations and mortgage the future of the country and yours and your children,” he said, stressing that the new budget was just a half point higher than the previous year.

Pacheco has become the point man for the Luis Guillermo Solís budget since the Helio Fallas, minister of Hacienda, underwent an operation on a foot injury.

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