Solís budget gets expected responses

The president’s budget met with the type of receptions that could be expected. Supporters in the central government praise it as a bare bones, austere spending plan. Opponents are talking about Greece.

The Poder Judicial said, for example, that the part of the budget that relates to the judiciary is the most austere in the last 11 years. The Poder Judicial section proposes an increase of 5.48 percent over last year. The judicial budget is about $804 million.

That is not a big part of the $15.1 billion president’s budget. Of that amount, the central government plans to borrow 46  percent, about $7 billion, to pay bills.

President Luis Guillermo Solís said on a speech Sunday that the budget would have just a .5 percent increase. Some analysts say the increase is about .54 percent or maybe even 2.5 percent on how the math is done and whether the original budget of last year is used as a base. That budget had a 19 percent increase until lawmakers balked and the spending proposals were cut slightly.

Antonio Alvarez Desanti, a leader in the Partido Liberación Nacional was the lawmaker who compared the country’s situation to approaching that of struggling Greece. He said the country’s fiscal situation was not faced seriously.

The party itself issued a statement saying that the people cannot be expected to pay more unless there is an effort to cut expenses by the central government. That was in reference to the president’s proposal for a value-added tax to replace the current sales tax and increases in the income tax rate.

Of course, Liberación has run the country for eight of the last 10 years and has contributed to the soaring debt.

The budget now goes to a legislative committee for discussion. Like last year, lawmakers probably will respond with a lot of rhetoric and some request for cuts in the budget, but in the end, most observers say that the budget probably will be passed along with the tax proposals.

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