Published On: Fri, Apr 24th, 2020

Budget 2020: personnel costs keep going up

Rising personnel costs

PHILIPSBURG – The draft 2020 budget understandably shows significantly higher expenditures due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it seems that the government is unable to get a grip on its ballooning personnel costs while the overview of subsidies contains contributions to events that did not even take place, such as the annual carnival.

Personnel costs are up 5.1 million guilders (5 percent) for a total of 119.8 million guilders ($66.9 million). Other costs are also projected to increase. The government expects to pay 13 percent more for child allowance (a bit over 1 million guilders), 24 percent more for gratifications and additional increments (411,201 guilders), 25 percent more for retroactive payments (943,180) and a 25 percent increase of contributions to the general pension fund APS (22,706,263).

At the parliament, salaries go down 8.1 percent but other costs increase by 13 percent. The government wants to save 26 percent on the cost of electricity and 38 percent on books and subscriptions.

Subsidies to companies total in 2020 101,853,586 guilders ($56.9 million) and the total interest burden for the year amounts to 12.7 million ($7 million).

Subsidies increase by 82.3 percent from 104.7 to 190.9 million guilders. Part of the problem with subsidies is that many of them are structural and only some of them, like the 17.8 million ($9.9 million) subsidy for the St. Maarten Medical Center are incidental.

Its seems odd though to earmark a subsidy of 350,000 guilders (around $195,500) for the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation while there was no carnival this year. The same is true for the 250,000 guilders (almost $140,000) subsidy the budget earmarks for the non-existing Gaming Control Board.

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Budget 2020: personnel costs keep going up