San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers approve 2013 national budget in first-round debate

Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly approved in a first round of debate the ₡6.4 trillion ($12.8 billion) national budget bill in a 29-15 vote.

Fifty-seven percent of the budget will be financed by taxes and regular income, while 43 percent will be paid with debt.

Compared to this year, the 2013 budget is 2.6 percent bigger.

The vote came a few hours after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, ruled unanimously that the earmarking of ₡3.6 billion ($7.2 million) for municipalities is unconstitutional because “it did not detail the specific destination of funds as required by law.”

Those funds will be frozen while the Finance Ministry corrects the error in the next national budget revision.

Lawmakers from the Citizen Action Party, Libertarian Movement Party and Broad Front Party had asked to adjust the budget after the Sala IV’s ruling, but the vote was held shortly after 7 p.m.

A second round of debate will be held on Thursday.

Contact L. Arias at

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