San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers approve 2013 national budget

With 27 votes in favor, Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly approved on Thursday evening the 2013 national budget, which will total ₡6.4 trillion ($12.8 billion). Fifty-seven percent of the budget will be financed by taxes and regular income, while 43 percent will be paid with debt.

The bill had passed a first-round debate Tuesday in a 29-15 vote, just 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.

National Liberation Party top lawmaker Fabio Rojas said Thursday “the [Sala IV] ruling is not binding, and the questioned funds barely reached 0.25 percent of the budget. Therefore, the budget’s approval does comply with the law.”

Lawmakers from the Social Christian Unity Party, Citizen Action Party and Libertarian Movement Party voted against the bill. PAC’s top lawmaker, Yolanda Acuña, said “the budget has serious errors,” and that was the reason she voted against it.

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