Rome, November 19, 2017 - 09.27
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The Budget Law

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The measures connected to the budget law

The measures connected to the Budget Law (the so-called "out of session" measures)

As a general rule, the economic manoeuvre is implemented by means of the Budget Law and the annual forecast Budget Law. However, the interventions that can be implemented with these instruments may be insufficient to ensure that the objectives set are achieved and it is often indispensable to modify the sector legislation. This is the case, for example, when it is necessary to set new taxes or to abolish pre-existing taxes, or to intervene on the legal mechanisms used to determine expenditures, thus modifying citizen rights and duties, with economic consequences both positive and negative, such as in the fields of health care, pensions, public service and taxation.

The connected measures are the link between economic manoeuvre and parts of legislation in force to be modified. These measures, that are ordinary Draft Bills presented to Parliament by the Government a latere to the Budget Law, are intended to make the necessary modifications to legislation in force in order to achieve the economic effects the quantification of which, with respect to both revenue and expenditures, falls within the financial manoeuvre.

Given that these are ordinary laws, each "connected" measure that results in expenditures or revenue reductions, must contain an autonomous coverage clause and, if the economic effects of these laws influence public-finance balances, the Budget Law must take them into consideration. In this case, the link between connected measures and the Budget Law changes from being merely logical to being procedural as well. Otherwise, the connected measures would follow their own course and take advantage of the preferential track provided by parliamentary procedures and be subject to debate time limits and other limits regarding amendability provided by parliamentary regulations. Usually having to do with fiscal matters, they have recently been used to introduce regulations on expenditure containment. Such measures have been used to propose incisive savings manoeuvres in the sectors of greatest risk for public expenditure and, particularly, those regarding social security, the public service, health care and local finance.

In order for a measure to be considered connected to the Budget Law, with the effects that have been defined, the Government must define it as such when it is presented and its purpose must be specified in the parliamentary decision approving the economic and financial document. In addition, the text of the measure must be presented to Parliament before 15 November. According to the accounting system, connected measures must be identifiable on the basis of their contents, with reference to the following characteristics:

· the Government must present the relative project to Parliament before 15 November of each year;

· their contents must be homogeneous, that is, they must deal with only one specific issue, even if the issue may often be very broad, such as fiscal matters, but may not touch on widely disparate sectors;

· they must not necessarily result in immediate financial effects but must be intended to modify the structure of expenditure- or revenue legislation;

· they may also delegate the Government, that is, be limited to defining the criteria of future legislation, giving the Executive the task of subsequently establishing, with a specific regulation, detailed measures;

· they may not deal with matters not identified by the Government in the economic and financial programming document and authorised by Parliament in the decision approving that document;

· when debated during the budget session, they may not introduce modifications to accounting laws.