Local councils are being given an increasing amount of responsibility and need a new system of funding to cope with their expanded role, says Almere mayor Annemarie Jorritsma in an interview with the Volkskrant.
‘There is no other country where local authorities are so dependent on central government,’ Jorritsma told the paper. ‘There needs to be a broader look at local authority policy financing.’
Earlier this week, local government research institute Coelo said by 2018, the 393 local authorities in the Netherlands will have built up combined debts of €4.8bn – an average of €284 per head of the population.
The institute bases its forecasts on current council strategy and spending plans. It concludes council spending will rise 14% over the next three years but income will only rise 9%.
Jorritsma said earlier she believes local councils should be given greater tax raising powers. This is particularly important given the transfer of responsibility for long-term care services which has been passed on to local authorities since the beginning of the year, news agency ANP quotes her as saying.
Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk said on Thursday he is looking into giving councils greater tax raising powers.
Local councils had combined income of some €8.7bn from property and other local taxes and their reserves last year. The rest of their €23.9bn budget came from central government.
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