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1 The National Stability Pact in Italy Chiara Goretti (Italian Senate) Gelsomina Vigliotti (Italian Treasury) Practitioners’ Forum, 30-31 March 2006, LSE:

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Presentation on theme: "1 The National Stability Pact in Italy Chiara Goretti (Italian Senate) Gelsomina Vigliotti (Italian Treasury) Practitioners’ Forum, 30-31 March 2006, LSE:"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The National Stability Pact in Italy Chiara Goretti (Italian Senate) Gelsomina Vigliotti (Italian Treasury) Practitioners’ Forum, March 2006, LSE: ‘Policy learning and experimentation in EU economic governance’

2 2 EMU and re-evaluation of central- local fiscal relationship In the 90s, two major forces at work: In the 90s, two major forces at work: fiscal consolidation: sound public finances are key to the success of the single currency decentralisation: a strong centralised public sector is not likely to be optimal

3 3 The Stability and Growth Pact and decentralisation: potential conflicts Free rider local governments Counter cyclical policy action Local government capital expenditure financing

4 4 Allocation of policy responsibilities A variety of approaches have been followed by the EU countries A variety of approaches have been followed by the EU countries Most countries rely on co-operation mechanisms Difficult to single out common features but: - generally no predefined sanctions - the smaller the government level the smaller the cyclical sensitivity of budgets - the smaller the government level the smaller the cyclical sensitivity of budgets

5 5 The Italian case Effective decentralisation is quite recent Effective decentralisation is quite recent Up to early 90s, decentralisation of expenditure has combined with high centralisation of revenues Local own revenues to GDP grew from 2.8% in 1990 to 8% in Expenditure stood at around 15% Local own revenues to GDP grew from 2.8% in 1990 to 8% in Expenditure stood at around 15%

6 6 Italy: Main steps to regional fiscal decentralization 1948: The Constitution foresees the creation of regions; special powers are granted to five special statute regions : “Ordinary statute” regions are set up. 1978: Health expenditure is largely decentralized to regions. 1992: Health service contributions and automobile taxes are attributed to regions. 1995: Specific state transfers are abolished and replaced by a share of the excise on gasoline: a new equalization fund is set up. 1997: A new tax on productive activities (IRAP) is introduced and assigned to regions. 1998: A surcharge on the personal income tax (IRPEF), by 0.5 percentage points, is introduced 2000: Legislative decree 56 replaces central transfers with tax revenue sharing (the most significant share is based on a time-varying formula for VAT to be assigned to regions). 2001: Law 3/2001 reforms Title V of the Constitution; a national vote ratifies it in October.

7 7 The National Stability Pact (NSP) Introduced in 1999; 7 years experience; Introduced in 1999; 7 years experience; Each year brought changes in the rules: Each year brought changes in the rules: From budget balances to expenditures From budget balances to expenditures From current expenditure to total expenditure From current expenditure to total expenditure Regulates: Regulates: Regions, excluded health expenditure Regions, excluded health expenditure Provinces Provinces Municipalities Municipalities

8 8 The rules Ex post targets on Ex post targets on  ad hoc calculated balance ( )  expenditure, cash and commitments ( ) Three year planning (...in theory...), introduced in 2002 Three year planning (...in theory...), introduced in 2002 Quarterly cash targets, forecasts in line with annual target, introduced 2003 Quarterly cash targets, forecasts in line with annual target, introduced 2003

9 9 The targets: on budget balances Changes in definition and measure in each year i.e.: the 2002 target for provinces and municipalities 2002 balance ≤ 2000 balance x (1 + 2,5%) 2002 balance ≤ 2000 balance x (1 + 2,5%) Balance = Balance = Total revenues (net: financial revenues, state transfers, extraordinary revenues) minus Current expenditure (net: interest, non-discretional expenditures, extraordinary expenditures)

10 10 The targets: on expenditure 2005 exp 2005 ≤ exp avg(2001/2003) x (1 + 11,5%) if virtuous exp 2005 ≤ exp avg(2001/2003) x (1 + 10%) if not virtuous on total expenditure, net: Personnel expenditure Financial expenditure Transfers to other authorities Minor items

11 11 The targets: on expenditure 2006 exp 2006 ≤ exp 2004 x (1-6,5%) if virtuous exp 2006 ≤ exp 2004 x (1-8%)if not virtuous Two separate targets current expenditure, net: current expenditure, net: exp 2006 ≤ exp 2004 x (1+8,1%) capital expenditure capital expenditure Social expenditure Personnel expenditure Interests Catastrophe and emergency exp. Transfers to other authorities Minor items More capital exp. in the limits of:  Additional savings in current exp.  Gifts and donations

12 12 The targets: comments on definition On budget balances? On budget balances? On expenditure? On expenditure? pro-cyclical effects pro-cyclical effects weak consolidation process weak consolidation process financial autonomy denied financial autonomy denied recourse to the Constitutional Court recourse to the Constitutional Court

13 13 The targets: comments on definition How to define the target? How to define the target? What should be excluded/included? What should be excluded/included? Complexity Complexity Proximity to SGP deficit definition Proximity to SGP deficit definition Include capital expenditure or not ? Include capital expenditure or not ? Volatility Volatility Squeezability Squeezability

14 14 Sanctions... Initially, NSP without sanctions, merely a policy statement “...in case of EU sanctions for excessive deficit against Italy, the fine will be shared among responsible authorities.” Specific sanctions in case of missed annual targets introduced in 2003 Ban on new hiring; Ban on new hiring; Mandatory reduction in expenditure for intermediate consumption to reach prescribed level; Mandatory reduction in expenditure for intermediate consumption to reach prescribed level; Ban on activating new loans; Ban on activating new loans; If quarterly target is missed, difference must be absorbed before the end of the following quarter

15 15... incentives... In 2000 alone, incentive given through reduced interest rates on loans granted by public Savings and Loan Institute; In 2000 alone, incentive given through reduced interest rates on loans granted by public Savings and Loan Institute; In 2002, redistribution of revenues of sanctions levied on others; attempt failed In 2002, redistribution of revenues of sanctions levied on others; attempt failed

16 16... monitoring and control Monitoring within the year Following format prepared by Ministry of Economy, authorities required to send information quarterly to: Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Economy; Associations of municipalities and of provinces Associations of municipalities and of provinces State Audit Office State Audit Office Beginning in 2003, Board of Auditors - once budget is closed - verifies compliance with targets. Failure to respect target is reported to: Authority in default Authority in default Ministry of Interior Ministry of Interior Associations of municipalities and of provinces Associations of municipalities and of provinces

17 17 Incentives or sanctions? Carrot or stick? Carrot or stick? Incentives are costly Sanctions should be credible Which type of sanctions? Which type of sanctions? financial sanctions administrative sanctions state take-over of specific powers Reputation effects

18 18 Accountability and controls: comments Who are the controllers? Who are the controllers? How to control? How to control? How to build accountability? How to build accountability? Ministry of Economy Associations of municipalities and of provinces Audit Office Parliament IT database (SIOPE) internal-external control coordination coordination and simplification of supplementary information required peer pressure and reputation effects involve associations in monitoring and evaluation transparency promote ownership within local authority

19 19 Transparency Transparency inadequate because: Insufficient information available (planning data and outturns not made public) Insufficient information available (planning data and outturns not made public) Focus on single authorities, with aggregate view neglected Focus on single authorities, with aggregate view neglected Insufficient connection between NSP data and others public finance information Insufficient connection between NSP data and others public finance information

20 20 Medium-term Planning Procedures Economic and Financial Planning Document General Gvt target Stability Program General and Local Gvts targets Budget bill National Stability Pact Regions’ Committee formulates opinions not on aggregate targets 30 June 30 Sept Nov-Dec

21 21 Others fiscal rules The 2001 Constitutional amendment, article 119 states for local budgets: The 2001 Constitutional amendment, article 119 states for local budgets: golden rule golden rule ordinary funding only through own revenues ordinary funding only through own revenues Not implemented Interest expenditure < 12% revenues Interest expenditure < 12% revenues Budget balanced – strict rules in case of bankruptcy Budget balanced – strict rules in case of bankruptcy

22 22 Coordination: comments stronger coordination in budget session stronger coordination in budget session Ex ante definition of sub national figures, agreed and consistent with aggregate targets (DPEF) Ex ante definition of sub national figures, agreed and consistent with aggregate targets (DPEF) NSP transparently consistent with agreed figures NSP transparently consistent with agreed figures Better information framework for ex-post evaluation Better information framework for ex-post evaluation fiscal rules coordination fiscal rules coordination Implement constitutional article 119 Implement constitutional article 119 Local authorities should be on balance, except capital expenditure Local authorities should be on balance, except capital expenditure Public finance coordination: on overall level of taxation and expenditure? Public finance coordination: on overall level of taxation and expenditure?


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