Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea has challenged Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) to a live, TV debate on the topic of the budgets allotted to municipalities.
“Liviu Dragnea! You and me, live, on any TV station you want. With the numbers in the open, they don’t lie. Be a man, don’t run!” Firea wrote in a Facebook post.
Firea is a member of PSD, but lost all her senior positions in the party last year, after a string of attacks on Dragnea.
Firea says Dragnea cut almost a quarter of the budget of the Bucharest City Hall and falsely claims that Bucharest residents won’t be impacted.
“He cut almost 25% of the Bucharest City Hall budget (EUR 180 million) and he claims serenely that Bucharest residents will not be impacted because he increased the allotments to the districts. A big manipulation! Mr. Dragnea pretends he does not know that the Bucharest City Hall and the six district city halls have, by law, different attributions, and different bills to pay,” Firea wrote on Facebook.
Firea previously warned that she considers challenging the budget planning at the Constitutional Court unless the Government reconsidered the draft. She is not the only mayor unhappy with the budget planning. Several mayors in Romania’s biggest cities took issue with the Government’s plan to give them more expenses to cover, besides higher revenues.
The municipalities and cities saw their revenues shrinking after the Government cut the income tax rate from 16% to 10% effective January 2018 and hope to get back part of the revenues in 2019. The Government accepted to increase from 43% to 60% (versus 66% asked by municipalities) the share of income taxes left with local administration bodies in 2019, but it passed them supplementary expenditures.
(Photo: Gabriela Firea Facebook Page)