THE VÚCs, created in 2001 as the state’s declared effort to decentralise public administration, handle more than €1 billion in state funds each year and have decision-making powers in education, social services and public transport, and oversee the maintenance of lower category roads, while coordinating inter-regional and cross-border cooperation and tourism.
The VÚCs make decisions pertaining to the operations of museums, galleries, libraries and pharmacies, just to name a few crucial sectors. The VÚCs are funded by taxes paid directly to the regions, including personal income and motor vehicle taxes as well as through grants from central government ministries and European structural funds.
The Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) has looked into spending by the VÚCs, suggesting that “it is crucial for the citizens to know how their money is handled at the level of self-governments or municipalities”.
Based on the bills INESS requested from the VÚCs, there are substantial differences between spending by individual regions, oscillating from €185 to €266 per citizen, which is a more than a 40-percent difference, according to INESS.
Trenčín VÚC has the highest spending per citizen, at €266, while Prešov’s spending is the lowest per citizen, at €185.
The most indebted region is Trnava with its debt equal to €91 per citizen in 2013. Bratislava Region’s debt stands at €69 per citizen, while Košice has debt of €54 per citizen; Banská Bystrica’s debt stands at €63.60 and that of Nitra at €45.80 per citizen; Prešov’s debt is €48.90 per citizen; Žilina owes €60.80 per person and Trenčín’s debt was at €85 per citizen in 2013, according to INESS.
The total indebtedness of Slovakia’s eight regions reached €347 million, the Sme daily reported while quoting Peter Goliaš, the director of the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) as saying: “the average debt of the self-governing regions stands at 34 percent of their regular revenue, which still represents a safe level”.
9. Nov 2013 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová