Lev Shlosberg: “The budget can be only for the people”
Press Release, 18.04.2017
The Public Chamber of the city of Pskov proposed to develop a municipal program People’s Budget. It envisages collection of proposals from the city residents (for example, on the necessary road repairs, improvement of streets, yards and buildings, opening of playgrounds and sports grounds for children). The initiators of the project offer residents of Pskov to apply to the city administration so that to include the solution of the communal problem in the future city development programme. There may be several sources of financing for the works: the municipal budget, investments of the project partners, and even funds from the residents.
Formally, the public initiative looks quite ordinary, if one does not pay attention to the fact that it emerged several months before the election of the deputies of the Pskov City Duma.
Commenting on this initiative Lev Shlosberg, MP of the Pskov Region Legislative Assembly, said that the entire city budget was formed with people’s money, and the larger part of the budget was made up of the funds of city taxpayers – residents and organisations. Shlosberg noted that the idea voiced by the city Public Chamber was another electoral move by city deputies from ruling United Russia party on the eve of the election campaign.
“The expenditure part of Pskov’s budget for 2017 is about 3.5 billion rubles. It is a lot of money. Approximately half of this money comes from the income tax paid by city residents. That is, every second rouble in the budget of the city of Pskov is the money of the residents of the city. Strictly speaking, this is already the people’s budget. And the first thing that people have the right to demand from the authorities is to spend budget money in a right way.
I have an assumption that the real authors of this proposal are not members of the Public Chamber, most of whom, to put it mildly, are far from the budget and formation of the budget, but deputies of the Pskov City Duma, who are to be elected soon. In the fifth year of performance of this self-government body, someone suddenly has remembered that it turns out, that residents of the city are the voters, and the MPs need to do something for them.
That is why, literally before the start of the election campaign, the residents of the city are invited to ask the MPs to do something: plant bushes, fill holes, place a fence somewhere and at the same time pretend that the city authorities are working for people. This, of course, is a disgrace.
The budget in principle can not be only for the people. It is formed with the money of organisations that pay taxes, there are taxpayers’ money coming from the income tax, the property tax and the land tax.
Therefore, I consider initiative to be only a PR campaign of the people planning to participate in the elections to the Pskov city Duma from the ruling United Russia party.
I do not consider it disrespectful towards people when representatives of the self-governing body that forms the budget come forward with such kind of initiatives. Namely, it is the Pskov City Duma which adopts the budget. We will see how this will be implemented, but I think that they will quickly reveal themselves, when definite people will run in the elections with these proposals. I think this is cynical,” Shlosberg said.
Posted: April 19th, 2017 under Regional and Local Elections.