Socialists Accuse Bulgaria's Rulers of Municipal Pork Barreling

Finance | August 28, 2012, Tuesday // 19:54|  views

Bulgaria's ruling party GERB and the Cabinet of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov is exerting pressure on the municipalities to raise local taxes, according to the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

The Socialists commented Tuesday on the draft Public Finances Act, and the newly proposed methodology of the Finance Ministry for assessing the finances of the 264 Bulgarian municipalities, a system which, according to Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, is supposed to encourage the fiscally responsible local authorities with bonuses.

Dora Yankova, a member of the BSP Executive Bureau and a former Chair of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, believes that the proposed system will be a win only for the richest municipalities.

"Next year, the government will be pouring a lot of money in the big municipalities because of the 2013 general elections," Yankova stated, as cited by BGNES.

She accused the ruling party of failing to deem equal all municipalities regardless of the political affiliations of their mayors.

"There is no way the municipalities can swallow the fact that they are being stripped off of their powers. There is a separation of powers, and there is no way a single government minister, regardless of whether he might be the Finance Minister, can pull off all powers, and have the mayors march before him like schoolchildren," Yankova declared.

Socialist MP Dimcho Mihalevski also believes that the government is introducing its fiscal assessment of the municipalities because of the upcoming general elections.

"I will insist that the state stop measuring the ratings of the municipalities, and thus allocate funding to its favorite municipalities," he said, adding that the new legislation is in violation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and strips the local authorities and the mayors of the resources that they generated.

Mihalevski accused Finance Minister Simeon Djankov of providing over BGN 100 M to certain municipalities without the sanction of the Bulgarian Parliament, and slammed the ruling party GERB's "selective" policies in that respect.

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Tags: BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, National Association of Municipalities, NAMRB, GERB, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Dora Yankova, municipalities, municipal administrations, municipal administration, mayors, finance minister, Simeon Djankov, Dimcho Mihalevski, pork barreling


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