Less money for justice and economy this year

POSTED: 02/13/12 7:40 PM

St. Maarten – The draft 2012 budget is 11.6 million guilders higher than the previous budget. The increase is mainly caused by indexation and price increases, the draft states, “but especially by taking over costs that are linked to tasks that were performed before by the Netherlands Antilles.”  This results in higher personnel costs.

The draft budget is balanced at 432.5 million guilders (close to $240.3 million). Expenditures are projected to go up across the board, with the exception of Roland Duncan’s Justice Ministry and Franklin Meyers’ Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Justice will spend 1.22 million guilders (almost $678,000) less than in 2011 and the budget for Meyers’ Ministry has gone down even more, by 3.5 million guilders ($1.94 million).

The biggest increase is for expenditures related to the parliament and the high councils of state: a projected increase of 5.9 million guilders (almost $3.28 million). The finance ministry expects to spend 3.3 million guilders ($1.83 million) more; the ministry of public health, social development and labor affairs is close on its heels with an increase of 2.9 million guilders ($1.6 million).

Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger’s ministry of public housing, urban planning, environment and infrastructure (Vromi) and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams’ ministry of general affairs will both spend 1.8 million guilders ($1 million) more.

While practically all ministries spend more than they bring in, the exception is obviously the finance ministry. The budget projects 26.7 million guilders ($14.8 million) higher revenue. General affairs will bring in 1 million guilders extra. Altogether this projected extra revenue compensates for the 16.1 million guilders ($8.94 million) in lower revenues at the other ministries.

The draft budget foresees in 61.4 million ($34.1 million) investments in capital goods. The government has lent 4.2 million guilders ($2.33 million) to unidentified third parties (at least they are not identified in the documents this newspaper has at its disposal), while it projects this year to contract loans for a total of 37.3 million guilders ($20.7 million).

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