The Minister of Finance and Public Administration , Cristóbal Montoro , said on Thursday that “in a year” there will be a new system of local financing and recalled that local authorities have been the only administrations with surplus in their accounts of 2012, a trend that continues in 2013.
In the presentation of the bill of Rationalization and Sustainability of the Local Administration before the Plenary Session of the Congress, Montoro has extended its hand to continue with the negotiations to the rest of the political forces, after the vote of the ten amendments to this local reform. He insisted that they will continue to talk with the parliamentary groups during the parliamentary process and thanked the PNV for having withdrawn its amendment to the whole just before the debate.
The spirit of the reform, has continued, is to empower local administrations because they are “the closest to the citizen and that is where politics becomes greater with commitment to citizens”. The minister recalled that the Constitution does not make explicit reference to municipal powers and that it has been the Constitutional Court, through numerous judgments, who has attributed to the state legislator to set the bases and their powers.
This situation, he added, has led to “certain dysfunctions, duplicities and competition” of competencies or to the municipalities to provide services without having the “competence title”, which the reform will correct. Montoro has valued the financial “good behavior” of the local administrations and the surplus achieved in 2012, as well as in the first part of 2013, which has estimated at 0.19% of GDP. He assured that the reform will also serve so that this attitude “is constant and an example for the other administrations.
He recalled that, although they were authorized to reach a deficit of 0.39% of GDP in 2012, they closed the year with a surplus of 0.22, which shows their “excellent political management”, as well as the efforts of citizens , “who appreciate that the accounts are healthy”. The minister has assured that the intention of the Executive is to count on a new system of local financing in a year, to consolidate the accounts of the local corporations.
He has referred to the gestation of the draft law of local reform, which began in February 2012, and the numerous changes in the text.
In his opinion, he is respectful “to the extreme” with the powers of the autonomies and with the specificities of the Basque Country, Navarre, Madrid, Barcelona, Ceuta, Melilla and the county division. He stressed that for some skills, such as education, there is a transitional period related to new local financing, but that services will be provided equally, without citizens noticing the changes, for which guarantees are set.
Support from the mayors of PP
Before the presentation in the plenary session, some thirty mayors of the PP have staged their support for local reform in a meeting with Minister Montoro. The spokesman of the party in the Congress, Alfonso Alonso, and the deputy secretary general of Autonomic and Local Policy of the party, Javier Arenas, have attended this meeting prior to the debate of the whole that is celebrated in the Congress and that they have attended, among others , the mayors of Madrid, Ana Botella, and of Valencia, Rita Barberá.
The mayor of Santander and president of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, Íñigo de la Serna, has ensured after this meeting that “there is nothing” in this law that makes one think, “not even from a distance”, that a privatization may occur of services, as the opposition denounces, mostly contrary to the reform.
Although he recalled that all the local entities that he knows, of all the parties, have many privatized services, De la Serna has insisted to journalists that there is “nothing” in the reform that says the management system is modified. public services.
The president of the FEMP has admitted that the first drafts of this bill contained aspects that the municipalities rejected and “sufficient reasons” for the complaint, such as the so-called standard cost that violated local autonomy, but recalled that they were withdrawn and not They are already in the project.
That is why he has insisted on defending this reform, which -he has underlined- ends with the “improper powers” assumed by the municipalities when they belong to the communities, and guarantees that the local entities that continue to exercise them as “management encomiendas” will receive the 100% per cent of the financing of the regional administrations.
All this, he added, with the commitment of the State to withdraw that money from the communities and give it to the municipalities if the former do not pay. De la Serna recalled on the other hand that the other great demand of the municipalities, the reform of local funding, will also be addressed by the Government, which will approve at the same time as the autonomy, as expressed today Montoro mayors of the match.