Analysis: transparency of municipal budgets - 2022

2022 has been a settling year for public budgets - at least in terms of their approval schedule, most municipalities have made efforts to have new budgets in the first two months of the year. However, although the budgets of the municipalities were approved a little earlier than 2021, we are still far from the normal and legal calendar that imposes new budgets for a new fiscal. This year, the delay was "only" two months in the best of cases.

As before, the present analysis looked at the process of drawing up and approving local budgets in 109 municipii din România (including here the six districts of the Capital), following the extent to which they comply with the criteria of local public finance legislation related to the transparency of this process. The analysis also looked at the extent to which the Romanian municipalities managed to take the step towards modern international standards in public finance, respectively to adopt measures to make them open budgets (publication format, citizens' budgets or organized public debates).

Overall, in 2022 there are some improvements in terms of transparency and participation, with local budgets being more open. This is also an indicator that an earlier state budget helps in faster planning, including at the local level. Despite the fact that this year the schedule for drafting local budgets overlapped with the New Year, many of the municipalities have strived to have their budgets ready in legal time and to have a "clean" budget since February. . 

In the next period, this analysis will be extended, both as a cover (by including other local authorities) and as a purpose (by including quality elements of local budget processes). I learned, through the monitoring of these municipalities, but also through other research carried out during this period, that the stage of debate and approval of local budgets is a key moment to involve citizens in a more participatory government. We have seen local communities strive to reach the 21st century through debate and budget transparency. I have also seen communities in which, although the local administration is trying to open up, organizing debates in which no one still appears. However, I have seen far too many municipalities where citizens do not meet with openness from the authorities. 

If we want a real opening of the government to the citizens, then the debate of the budgets on the occasion of their adoption is a good starting point. But the budget process is much wider and in order to have a real involvement of the citizens, the effort must be wider and constant, with thematic debates or for drawing the priority lines throughout the budget year. 

Excel table of monitoring municipalities

Top municipalities

Scoring

Publication deadline:

2 points = on time
1 point = late
0 points = not published

Open format:

2 points = editable format,
1 point = friendly visualisation
1 point = editable PDF
0 points = scanned PDF

Adoption deadline:

2 points = adopted on time
1 point = late adoption
0 points = not adopted


The analysis if part of The Funky Republic.

The project is implemented by Funky Citizens in partnership with Bjerkaker Learning Lab and Rise Project Romania and benefits from a 276.980 Euro grant from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.

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Comments (2)

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