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Parties unite to slash bureaucracy

Source: El Pais - Wed 2th Jan 2013
Parties unite to slash bureaucracy

The PP and PSOE are close to an agreement on slimming down part of the public administrations to eliminate overlapping responsibilities and reduce costs, insider sources said Tuesday.

The proposed Bases for Local Government Law plans to eliminate some 1,000 municipal associations that provide services to different town halls in the same area. Most of these are destined to disappear, particularly those not charged with clearly executive services.

The initiative also calls for a cap on the salaries of the mayors of large cities to levels similar to those of secretaries of state, which are €67,055 per year. Currently, 14 mayors of provincial capitals, including Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Zaragoza, earn salaries of around €100,000 a year when the head of the central government and his ministers receive €70,000. The legislation will also impose limitations on the wages of councilors.

The government believes the initiative could save some €3.5 billion a year by removing overlapping functions of different levels of government.

Municipalities have assumed a number of responsibilities that they are not adequately geared up to provide due to budget restrictions. The new law will categorize the services to be provided by local governments and will bar spending by mayors on services that do not come within their brief. Some functions may be carried out by provincial delegations of the central government.

PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba had proposed dismantling the provincial delegations, although under the latest reform in some cases their role will be reinforced.