San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Proposed budget cuts prompt fiery debate

Members of three political parties pushed for the hurried approval of ₡35 billion ($68 million) in spending cuts from the 2012 national budget on Wednesday afternoon. Headed by legislator Luis Fishman of the Social Christian Unity Party, the decision to dramatically cut government spending was supported by members of the Citizen Action Party and Libertarian Movement, though vehemently opposed by Laura Chinchilla’s National Liberation Party (PLN) and several government officials. 

At the conclusion of the afternoon meeting, angry PLN lawmakers publicly voiced their discontent, stating that Fishman was “steamrolling legislative policy.” 

“[The decision to pass budget cuts] would be a serious blow to the execution of fundamental programs of the government,” said PLN legislator Francisco Chacón on Wednesday. 

The PLN was joined by officials from several government agencies who also expressed disapproval with the proposed cuts. The Judicial Branch, which includes the Public Security Ministry, Judicial Investigative Police and Prosecutor’s Office, warned that potential spending cuts would be detrimental to national security and contradict Chinchilla’s initiatives to reduce crime.

If budget cuts are passed, the Judicial Branch’s spending would be slashed by ₡7.7 billion ($15 million). 

The other government agencies that could see their spending trimmed are the Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Public Works and Transport Ministry, the Culture Ministry, the Supreme Elections Tribunal and the Agriculture Ministry. 

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