Due to a hole of 70 million euros, the Department of Loire-Atlantique urgently postpones the vote on its budget

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Due to a hole of 70 million euros, the Department of Loire-Atlantique urgently postpones the vote on its budget

The community is missing nearly 70 million euros to complete its 2024 budget. She assures that other departments are in the same situation due to the economic situation and places the blame on the State.

Le Figaro Nantes

It should have been voted on from December 11 to 13, 2023. It will finally be voted on from March 25 to 27, 2024. After alerting the President of the Republic during his visit on Tuesday, to Nantes, to the Assises de la mer, it is ahead the press that the president of the Loire-Atlantique department sounded the alarm this Wednesday, on the emergency postponement of the 2024 budget. This deadline was chosen in order to “to obtain the latest indicators allowing you to have the most reliable budget possible», Explains Michel Ménard (PS), from the Hôtel du Département, located in Nantes.

“ This is 70 million less revenue that will have to be taken into account when establishing our 2024 budget», was alarmed by the elected socialist. More than half of the community’s income fluctuates. They come on the one hand from the DMTO, these transfer rights for consideration, also called “notary fees», which depend on the number of real estate transactions recorded in Loire-Atlantique. But these revenues, which had been estimated at 360 million euros for 2024 at the time of the budgetary orientation debate, continued to decline, forcing the community to finally announce a forecast of 300 million euros (an amount which could still vary in the next months). weeks). On the other hand, the Department relies heavily on the fraction of VAT that the State pays it. However, this amount is refined over the year and in November, the Department learned that it would lose 9 million euros. Hence a blatant lack of additional and unexpected money to integrate into the construction of the N+1 budget.

Read alsoIn Loire-Atlantique, budgetary dispute between the department and Catholic education which considers itself wronged

A lack of anticipation?

These gloomy forecasts are not new: “the shock has already happened in 2023», assures Ali Rebouh, vice-president of finance. “ In 2023, we had 96 million less revenue which we were able to compensate for because we had a good year in 2022 where we had transfer taxes higher than our forecasts.” , he explains. “ If we manage to complete the 2023 budget in good conditions, it is precisely because we managed well, we got out of debt when we had more margin, and we increased savings.», Defends the president of the Department. No link therefore, according to him, with the doubling of the bill for the Dobrée museum, whose forecast cost in 2016 was 25 million euros and which will ultimately cost 50. Michel Ménard assures that this was inevitable given the inflation and discoveries on the construction site. .

The budget of 1.6 billion must therefore be readjusted in the coming weeks, with the objective of reducing it by 3 or 4%. Savings instructions will be given. But where to reduce? “ We are on a hypothesis of doing half and half: of the 60-70 million euros to be found, half in investment, half in operation», reflects the boss. With for example calls for projects which will not take place, or projects which will be postponed by one year. To note that ” to invest, we can borrow, because we have gotten out of debt over the last two years. But in terms of operation, we cannot borrow“.

“ Since 2015, the elected representatives of Démocratie 44 have continued to alert the departmental majority about the level of tedious expenses incurred on non-compulsory skills.», denounces the right-wing opposition in a press release, asking to be involved in the construction of the revised budget. They claim that for them, “this decision is unfortunately not a surprise“.

Read alsoHealth: the Department of Loire-Atlantique calls on the State over the “lack of resources”

A political fight

“ It was the state that put us in this situation. It is the State that took away our tax lever», still regrets Michel Ménard, who speaks of a “political fight“. In 2021, the VAT fraction compensated for the elimination of the property tax for the departments. “ Since we no longer have fiscal autonomy and depend on state funding and the real estate market, the state must be there», insists the elected official. “ The State must provide support so that we assume the responsibilities that have been transferred to us, and in particular responsibilities in terms of the social environment.“. Especially since Loire-Atlantique affirms that it pays every year”200 million euros in place of the State“. Individual allowances such as the RSA, the APA (personalized autonomy allowance) and the PCH (disability compensation benefit) are no longer compensated. “ Between 2015 and 2022, the amount of social expenditure not compensated by the State (the “remains to be borne ») amounts to more than 1.6 billion, or one year of the department’s budget“. “Basing the social policy of the departments on the dynamism of real estate transactions, even the most liberal would not have dreamed of it.», tackles the man on the left.

Michel Ménard assures that this situation also concerns other departments, whatever their political camp. “ I had the president of Gironde, he was missing 140 million to balance the 2024 budget», he quotes about his counterpart, also a socialist. Some have not postponed their budget because they already traditionally vote on it in March, the deadline being March 31 at the latest. It is not excluded that Loire-Atlantique will also ultimately decide to continue this vote in the spring. This hypothesis will be studied.

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Due to a hole of 70 million euros, the Department of Loire-Atlantique urgently postpones the vote on its budget - 1

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