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The Ticino cantonal parliament discusses the 2024 budget late

In Ticino, the budget for the current year has not yet been adopted. The sticking point of the 2024 cantonal budget is an extremely controversial savings package that drove several thousand people onto the streets in mid-January. The debate in parliament begins today, Monday.

Despite planned savings measures, the budget closes with a deficit of CHF 122 million. As the parties were unable to reach an agreement, the budget debate in the Grand Council was postponed several times.

It was only at the end of January that the preliminary deliberations of the Business and Financial Audit Committee reached a compromise. Among other things, the revised budget will no longer include any cuts to subsidies for health insurance premiums.

According to the government's plan, a total of CHF 134 million is to be saved. Among other things, cuts will be made to cantonal staff, contributions to healthcare facilities, subsidies for public transport and contributions to universities of applied sciences and universities. The Ticino cantonal parliament will have to decide on around a third of the savings measures.

With the budget not yet adopted, the southern canton is in a provisional financial situation. After 2014, 2017 and 2022, this is the fourth time that the southern canton has started a new year without a budget.

Protests continue

The planned austerity package has led to numerous protests in Ticino. In mid-January, around 5,000 people took to the streets in Bellinzona at a large demonstration entitled "Stop ai tagli" - "Stop the cuts". Another demonstration has been announced for the start of the session on Monday (today) at 12.00 noon in front of the parliament building. And on February 29, the trade unions are planning a strike by cantonal employees.

The reason for the first of several savings packages is the introduction of a spending brake. This provides for the cantonal profit and loss account to be balanced by the end of 2025 without burdening the municipalities or increasing taxes.

©Keystone/SDA

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