Congress owes Mexicans austerity

If something characterizes Mexican politicians is their extravagance and unnecessary expenses founded by public resources

Congress owes Mexicans austerity
Neither Congress nor the Senate have embraced austerity - Photo: Alejandra Leyva/EL UNIVERSAL
English 13/08/2018 09:20 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:22
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There is a place in Mexico where public funds circulate generously, to say the least, and where the notion of austerity doesn't seem to exist.

In Congress, the legislators' salary is made up from three categories: monthly salary, legislative assistance, and help for citizen services; from there, a series of privileges are added, such as plane tickets or toll booth payments, savings banks, haircuts or makeup services…

But this is not all the squandering. The legislators and the different legislative fractions can hire the number of counselors they want to. Today, EL UNIVERSAL published that during the last three years of the 63rd Legislature, that is about to end, MXN $4,000,693,590 were distributed to pay for the fees of 2,259 counselors. The number is much higher than the MXN $4,000,000,060 budget assigned to the operation of the public healthcare system, Seguro Popular.

60% of the counselors were required by the Senate and the rest by the 500 Deputies. The support staff received up to MXN $120,000 monthly salaries.

If something characterizes Congress, it's extravagance and unnecessary expenses.

While the country was going through situations that merit austerity, situations that forced the Executive branch to spend only on necessary things, the flow of financial resources in the Legislative branch stayed intact and with very limited transparency.

Although the way the resources are spent is mostly known, there are areas in Congress that are in the dark. The Federal Superior Auditors has pointed out this issue, specifically the yearly consignments the parliamentary groups assign themselves; it's millions worth of resources, and their final destiny is unknown. The discreet use of thousands of millions for projects in their states or municipalities is another example.

Congress has approved laws in favor of transparency, but with their actions, legislators seem to think that the obligations are for others, not for them.

With the new arrangement in the Chamber of Deputies, the incoming legislators have recognized the importance of cutting unnecessary expenses, and they consider that cutting MXN $2,000,000,000 to their annual budget is possible.

The legislators, as the popular representatives they are, would have to always ahead of everyone in exercising an austere, responsible and transparent expense. It is about looking after public resources, the money that comes from the citizens' pockets. Congress has a big debt towards society.


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