The government should not axe the budget of municipalities, it should cut instead excessive central government’s staffing cost.” Verona Mayor Flavio TosiMayors from across Italy have held a protest rally in front of the Italian Senate in the capital, Rome, to voice their opposition to spending cuts planned by the government, Press TV reports. The Tuesday protest came after Premier Mario Monti presented a bill which includes cuts in the public spending to save a total of 26 billion euros (USD 31.7 billion) in three years. The mayors say the spending cuts will be "lethal" for many cities in the eurozone member state. The 2012 budgets of local municipalities were slashed by 500 million euros this year; another 2 billion euros will also be cut next year. Monti has also reintroduced a property tax bill which was originally designed to raise revenue for local municipalities. “The government should not axe the budget of municipalities, it should cut instead excessive central government’s staffing cost,” Verona Mayor Flavio Tosi. Also on Tuesday, a delegation of mayors held a meeting with Senate President Renato Schifani during which they expressed concerns over the future of the Italian municipalities.
The national association of Italian municipalities has warned that if the government does not enter negotiations with the mayors, it will face a sturdy opposition from political parties.Last week, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the Italian government’s bond rating by two notches as the country faces higher funding costs, slower growth and contagion risk from Greece and Spain’s economic crisis. Various eurozone member states, including Greece, Spain and Italy, have been struggling with deep economic woes since the bloc's financial crisis began roughly five years ago. DB/MA/HJL