Wallonia’s government on Thursday examined draft circulars that should help local governments to draw up their 2018 budgets this autumn. Among its proposals, it recommends that municipalities observe a “fiscal peace” and that provinces apply a “fiscal freeze”. The regional government’s budget circulars are tools expected by local authorities even if they only have the value of recommendations for the communes, given the autonomy these structures enjoy, the minister in charge of local authorities, Valérie De Bue, recalled.
The regional government recommends that the communes strengthen fiscal peace by complying with the recommended ceilings and rates so as not to have an unreasonable impact on economic vitality. During its term of office, the government will review the nomenclature of local taxes so as to “clean up a series” judged “anti-economic”, the minister commented, citing as an example taxes on commercial signs.
Under the proposed “fiscal freeze”, the Government of Wallonia recommends that any fiscal reviews by the provinces should only be downward. The regional government has also decided to reduce by 5%, from 2018, its allocation to the Provincial Fund, which now stands at about 150 million euros, according to Ms. De Bue.
Wallonia’s current regional government was formed on 25 July 2017 by the Mouvement réformateur (MR – Reformist Movement) and the Centre démocrate humaniste (cdH – Humanist Democratic Centre). Notable points of its regional policy statement include its aim to eventually eliminate the provincial college and replace the provincial council by a body comprising representatives of the communes, while strengthening the role of the governor. Christopher Vincent