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Unformatted text preview: at were earmarked before were
substituted by resources not linked to specific uses. Therefore both fiscal and expenditure autonomy should have
occurred. As can be seen from the data reported in Table 7 this phenomenon did indeed occur, and it testifies to a very 254 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance significant change towards financial autonomy of regions. However there are a few considerations that need to be made
in order to interpret realistically and properly such data.
FISCAL AND EXPENDITURE AUTONOMY 1990
A) Own revenues
B) Total current revenues
A/B x 100
C) Unconditioned funds
D) Total revenues net of loans
C/D x 100 Spec. Regions
Ord. Regions Spec. Regions 1,536
21.0 Ord. Regions Spec. Regions 9,210
84.5 Ord. Regions
60.0 Source: E. Buglione, 2001
Own resources represented in 1990 only 2.3% of total regional revenues. Notwithstanding the wider competencies and
large attributions of special regions, their fiscal autonomy was even lower, amounting only to 0.5%. At the same time the
expenditure autonomy of regions, referring to the resources for which regions can autonomously decide the destination
on the total amount of resources of the regions, was also limited (11.4%). On the contrary the expenditure autonomy of
special regions was already substantial. They had complete autonomy in deciding upon 60.2% of their resources which,
it is important to remember, were totally transferred from the Central Government. This situation was heavily criticised,
since the asymmetry between autonomy of expenditure and dependency on transfers reduced responsibility and
accountability of local and regional governments and contributed heavily to feed the Italian public debt, which reached its
peak at the beginning of the nineties. This criticism applied even more to special” regions which benefited from a
privileged position. In 1990 per capita resource transfers amounted to 3.7 million liras in “special” regions as against 1.6
million liras in “ordinary” regions.
Overall, at the beginning of the nineties, even if regions were already competent in a number of matters, their autonomy
was limited by the possibility, given by the normative framework, of the central state to decide, sometimes in detail, the
way in which regions had to exercise their competencies and use the transferred funds, overemphasising the role of coordination and orientation attributed to the state by the Constitution and primary laws. As far as health expenditure in
particular was concerned, the separation between expenditure competencies and revenue collection led to a system
where needs were always determined by regions in the absence of budget constraint since it was impossible to
understand if the systematic budget overruns were due to an underestimation of the needs or to the lack of control of the
regions and the low efficiency of hospital and health facilities and services in the use of the transferred funds.
With the administrative and fiscal reforms implemented in the nineties and at the beginning of year 2000 the revenue
and expenditure structures look ve...
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