Forecast budgets, more virtuous municipalities but not in the South. Sicily and Calabria far from the national average


By John

Municipalities have become more virtuous in the presentation of budget estimates and this year 84% fulfilled their commitment by the deadline, a clear break compared to the past which however did not concern the whole country with a 'sidereal gap between north and south' which sees contrasting cases such as the Sicilian one, where only 30 municipalities out of 100 appear to have approved and transmitted the budget, and the percentage of 96% in the Aosta Valley and Emilia Romagna. The Local Authorities Study Center photographed the situation. In 2023, explains the Center, a ministerial decree rewrote the calendar of accounting deadlines and even if an extension to March 15 was still necessary this year as many as 4,695 municipalities, 59% of the total, started the current year with an already approved budget forecast and did not make use of the additional time granted by the Interior Ministry. Those from 1,268 municipalities are missing, almost all of which are small: 9 out of 10 have fewer than 10 thousand inhabitants and 64% are in the south and on the islands.

In northern Italy as a whole, 92% of estimates have already been sent to the Mef. In particular, the following stand out for efficiency: Emilia Romagna and Valle d'Aosta (both at 96%) and Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto (95%). Excellent results were also recorded in: Lombardy (93%), Friuli Venezia Giulia (90%) and Piedmont (89%). Liguria closes the circle, with 85% of municipalities complying. Going south the percentage gradually decreases, however remaining good in the centre, where on average 89 budgets out of 100 have already been approved and transmitted. Driving this group upwards are above all Tuscany (95%), Marche and Umbria (93%) . The Lazio municipalities are further behind, stuck at 81%. Less rosy, but still a clear improvement compared to the past, is the situation in the South where the most timely municipalities were 6 out of 10. In particular, the 3 regions farthest from the national average are – in order – Sicily, Calabria and Campania. In the database managed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as of 24 April, only 117 budget estimates of Sicilian municipalities out of 391 have been acquired, less than one in three. Across the Strait, 236 out of 404 were sent (58% of the total), in Campania 67% of the estimates were approved on time.

First of the class, as far as the south is concerned, is Basilicata (92% of approved budgets), followed closely by Sardinia (885) and Puglia (86%). Abruzzo and Molise close the circle, with 80% and 77% of municipalities having already sent their estimate to the Ministry. According to the Local Authorities Study Center these data, taken together, demonstrate a tangible effect produced by the new programming but the abysmal distance that continues to characterize the results obtained by bodies in different territories is worrying. The process of reform of the accounting and organization of local authorities, whose construction sites are open, will necessarily also have to take into account the financial and organizational criticalities, now structural and endemic, of some territories and identify effective solutions to ensure that these distances are filled.