The 2021 draft budget for the Capital city has not been rejected today after USR-PLUS councilmen had refused to vote it. The Bucharest General Council meeting was convened today to adopt the Capital’s 2021 budget.
PNL and USR-PLUS have majority within the Capital General Council. USR PLUS councilors argued they are not voting the draft, as the expenses are not realistic and overestimated. They also accused general mayor Nicusor Dan for conducting no reform in the administration or across hospitals.
The draft budget was rejected by 17 votes in favor, 22 against and 14 abstentions.
According to the budget draft advanced by mayor Nicusor Dan, Bucharest City Hall has an estimated budget for this year of RON 6.7 billion, and it reaches RON 9.5 billion together with the budgets of the subordinated institutions, credits and EU funds. The draft entailed around RON 1.9 billion for investments, with RON 1.2 bln from European funds and around RON 600 million from its own budget.
Earlier in Wednesday, Bucharest general mayor Nicușor Dan has voiced his “astonishment” regarding the scandal on the Bucharest budget, after USR-PLUS city councilmen had denied to vote for it. Nicusor Dan says that all debates for the capital city’s budget took place and he doesn’t understand where the misunderstanding comes from.
USR-PLUS councilmen announced on Tuesday evening, through deputy mayor Horia Tomescu that they will not vote for the Capital’s budget in the form promoted by mayor Nicusor Dan. They claim that the forecast revenues are exaggerated and that the budget is not realistic. The councilmen also accuse mayor Dan that he has banned their access to the information that underlay the budget draft. They asked for the withdrawal of the draft.
USR PLUS deputy mayor Horia Tomescu said that the estimated revenues on the draft budget mount to RON 7 billion, while they were assessed to RON 4.5-5 billion during the previous discussions with the general mayor.
“We have reasons to believe that these forecast revenues are not realistic. They have been overreacted by at least 25% in the past 3 years. Do we want to continue with these exaggerations this year as well? We cannot lie to ourselves that we have plenty of money all of a sudden if it hasn’t happened in the previous year. If we do that, we’ll have to cut from all expenses planed for healthcare, for social assistance, environment, sports, etc. We want a realistic budget so that we can prioritize expenses and so that they should be respected”, Horia Tomescu said.
In retort, general mayor Nicusor Dan said that he is astonished by the USR-PLUS move.
“The draft budget was concluded on March 15, the draft was sent to all councilmen from the ruling coalition. It is the same version as the draft of March 15, with small amendments. All discussions that were supposed to take place did take place and were extremely civilized”, Nicusor Dan said.
As for the Liberals, they endorse the general mayor’s budget draft. The PNL councilor in the Bucharest General Council, Diana Mardarovici said that the Capital City Hall had been taken over while in a difficult situation, with huge debts left by the previous administration, warning that, if the budget is not approved “the payments necessary for the city cannot be done”.
PM Citu: We need a budget for Bucharest asap. I’ll talk to Mr. Barna
PM Florin Cîțu said that he will get involved in the scandal of the Bucharest City Hall between the USR PLUS councilmen and general mayor Nicusor Dan.
Cîțu says he will talk to USR PLUS co-chairman Dan Barna and that he will invite the Bucharest city councilmen for discussions in order to mediate the dispute. “We need a budget for Bucharest as soon as possible,” he argued, adding that the discontent in the Bucharest local administration will have to be solved quickly.