Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018

Monti's anti-sleaze bill gets amendmened in House


Rome, November 2 - The government of Italian
Premier Mario Monti suffered a political setback Friday when the
House tacked on two amendments to its anti-sleaze decree.
The first amendment, proposed by Democratic Party (PD) MP
Simonetta Rubinato, eliminates penalty fees for municipal
governments who pay off property mortgages ahead of time.
The second amendment, which was championed by the
regionalist Norther League, grants municipal governments the
right to strip Equitalia, a tax collecting agency, of its role.
The amendments were passed by the budget and constitutional
affairs committees despite opposition from the government, which
proposed the decree following a string of public-spending
scandals in recent months.
Recent sleaze cases, culminating in a scandal that forced
the governor of Lazio to step down, risked defeating "the
efforts we are all making to ensure Italy's role is fully
recognised at the international level," Monti said.
According to the decree, which President Giorgio Napolitano
signed last month, the number of regional councillors would be
cut by 35% and local bodies who do not stay in line with budgets
will face central-government funding cuts of 80%.
Mayors who do not keep their accounts in order will not be
allowed to stand again, the premier said.
The pay of local and regional councillors will be cut to
the level of the best-behaved region, while stipends will be
eliminated and all local officials will have to make public, and
have certified by the Audit Court, the money they get.
The pension age of local officials will be raised from 50
to 66.
The tipping point in public indignation with political
corruption came in September when Franco Fiorito, caucus leader
for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party
in the Lazio region, was alleged to have skimmed off millions
of euros of public money for personal use.
The case of Fiorito, who was arrested last month, caused
the PdL's Renata Polverini to step down as governor.
The investigation is only one of a series of recent
corruption scandals that have hit various parts of Italy's
political spectrum, sparking condemnation from Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano and the Catholic Church.

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