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States without financial discipline

Civil society organizations should demand State governments to be transparent and hold them accountable for the use of resources
States without financial discipline
Law on Financial Discipline being passed – File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
12/03/2018
09:05
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Since the beginning of the century, due to the shift in power, many of the local governments turned into small feudal lands in which the only valid voice is that of the one ruling over them. With difficulty, federal institutions began to replicate at a state level, such as the state human rights commissions or the institutes granting access to public information.

At the same time, debts incurred in by local governments, usually with banking associations, began to increase disproportionately and, often enough there is no record of how the loans were used. The magnitude of the problem forced the implementation of the Financial Disciplinary Law to avoid credit levels from jeopardizing the economic stability of a state or that of the entire country.

However, there are states that still have high debt levels. EL UNIVERSAL publishes today the situation of eight states changing governor this July 1st. From these, Morelos has a 445% debt increase when compared to the numbers it reported at the beginning of the current administration; it's followed by Chiapas, with 57%, Jalisco with 17%, and Tabasco with 8.3%.

On the contrary, Guanajuato, Puebla, and Yucatán reduced their debts while Veracruz has sustained it at the same level – although the debt left by Javier Duarte was restructured so there were a lower interest rate and a longer term to pay the debt.

No credit should be ruled out beforehand since this is a good tool to finance individual or group projects but when talking about state administrations, a fully detailed explanation is needed to know why is the debt being acquired and how will the funds be used. If there is no such explanation, ideally, it would be best that civil society organizations and autonomous institutions put pressure on their governments to be transparent and be held accountable of their decisions.

The truth is that there are few states in which civil society organizations have an influence in the behavior of authorities, which adds to the subjugation of the legislative and judicial powers. Reality is that there are no effective or real counterweights.

As long as society fails to exert its right to know how resources and funds are being used, governments will continue falling into excesses. The first warning sign should come from local voices.

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