Buenos Aires City lawmakers opposed to outgoing Mayor Mauricio Macri’s administration are accusing City Hall of delaying presenting next year’s 2016 budget for electoral gain.

“Macri dismissed the deadline set by the local Constitution to send the budget bill to the City Legislature,” Victory Front (FpV) legislator Gabriela Alegre told the Herald.

With the move, Alegre argued, the Macri administration wanted to hide “the usual budget cuts made in social areas such as education, health and housing.”

“Last year, the PRO administration foresaw a dollar worth 12.50 pesos and overestimated inflation, which allowed the government to count on almost unrestricted funds,” she added.

The City Constitution enacted in 1996 and the local Finance Management Law sets that the budget bill must be filed before September 30, meaning that the presentation is already 13 days overdue.

“They don’t care about deadlines set by the local Constitution so they decided to send the bill after the nationwide elections to hide resources allocated to advertising and consultancy services,” Kirchnerite legislator Anibal Ibarra told the Herald.

The former mayor was referring to the political scandal that engulfed former national lawmaker candidate Fernando Niembro and a number of Macri officials regarding a number of direct contracts between the sports journalist and the City administration.

Sources close to the ruling PRO party argued that discussing the budget before the October 25 general election would be “an extraneous debate.” PRO legislator Francisco Quintana, for his part, dismissed arguments by the opposition that the yearly increase of the ABL property tax, an unpopular move, could explain the delay because it is already known.

Days ago, the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ) filed a preliminary injunction request before the local courts in order to force the City government to send the budget bill to legislators.

Failure to comply with the legal deadlines “is preventing City residents from knowing how (the local administration) plans to allocate public resources,” the organization said.

Herald staff

(Artículo publicado en Buenos Aires Herald)