Some important amendments to the budget law were voted on – Il Post

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On the night from Sunday to Monday, an important vote took place in the budget committee of the Senate, which, among other things, approved four relevant amendments to the budget bill. These have been submitted by the government and relate to the pensions of doctors, paramedics, some teachers, local authority employees and the administrative judiciary; adjusting the allocation of funds for the bridge project across the Strait of Messina; some additional resources for the salaries of the Carabinieri, the police and the Guardia di Finanza; funds for local authorities. Of the amendments submitted by the opposition, the commission also approved one that allocates 40 million to the fight against gender violence.

It was an important vote because it broke the political deadlock in which the government and the parliamentary majority found themselves, but also because it concerned two hotly debated issues, health workers’ pensions and funds for the cross-strait bridge. . Article 33 of the original version of the maneuver envisaged a reduction of 5 to 25 percent for doctors, paramedics, teachers of kindergartens and certified primary schools who will retire after January 1.

These cuts, introduced by the government in order to ensure a more sustainable pension system, were much discussed, but in fact were immediately abandoned because they were very unpopular: this very measure was one of the reasons for the health workers’ strike on 5 December. In one of the amendments voted on tonight, the government essentially scrapped those cuts, with some remaining for those who choose to retire early. As a compensation for the removal of the cuts, there was also a hypothesis that the government would present an amendment to increase the retirement age of doctors to 72 years, but after many protests, this measure was finally abandoned.

The amendment on financing the bridge across the strait envisages a reduction in the state’s contribution thanks to the remodulation of some funds. The state will invest 2.3 billion euros less than expected out of the nearly 12 billion that will be needed for construction. But it will not be a real saving: 1.3 billion euros will have to be guaranteed by Sicily, 300 million euros by Calabria and 718 million by the development and cohesion fund, i.e. a state fund that serves to limit economic, social and infrastructure. The amendment was presented suddenly, without negotiation and communication with both regions, a method that particularly angered Sicily, which is also governed by the same parties that are in government.

The vote on all amendments moves the text from the budget committee to a vote in the House, which is scheduled for Friday, December 22. On that day, senators will vote on the government’s confidence in the budget bill, that is, they will have to vote on it as it is. At that point, the measure will go to the House floor for committee review between Christmas and the New Year, which will necessarily have to be very quick, and ultimately a final vote in the House.

The budget law must be approved by December 31 of each year: without approval, we enter what is called provisional, a condition under which the state can only spend part of the money it should. Every year we talk about the risk that parliament will not pass it in time, but for years it always somehow works out, albeit with great controversy from MPs, who often have to vote at night or in a hurry, without time to actually discuss the things that the law deals with

This is despite the fact that the budget law is the most important provision for the government, as it determines how the available money can be spent in the following year. For this reason, its path is defined by law: the government must approve the bill and send it to parliament by October 20, and then discuss it with the European Commission. At that moment, parliamentary clubs, both majority and opposition, can submit amendments within a certain deadline, which this year was November 21. Even the government itself can introduce amendments without having to respect the deadlines: they usually introduce them because maybe in some ministry they realize that things are wrong or mistakes were made when writing the law. Finally, the House and Senate must proceed to the final analysis and approve the law by the end of the year.

However, the same complications have been recurring for many years: the government is late in presenting the final version of the budget, the room for intervention by the deputies is very limited, and only one of the two chambers has time to discuss the substance of the matter. the bill, while the latter is effectively forced to ratify it without the possibility of intervention in the days between Christmas and New Year, in a hurry and without a real debate (a more passive role this time fell to the Chamber).

To overcome this now structural problem, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni agreed with her government allies on an unusual solution: the majority groups – ie Fratelli d’Italia, Lega and Forza Italia – did not have to submit any amendments and left it to the ministry. economy to present any shared changes to facilitate approval work. Therefore, there was talk of an “unchangeable” budget bill. However, the majority of MPs did not like Meloni’s order and after lively discussions in the Senate, the government finally had to change its mind.

– Read also: The government had to change its mind about the amendments to the Budget Act

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