The liberal party and social-democratic party make the strongest mark on municipalities

The influence of political parties on expenditure. CLICK TO ENLARGE
The influence of political parties on expenditure. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Do political parties fulfill the promises they make for municipalities? de Volkskrant analysed the numbers for 400 municipalities and concludes: The liberal party (VVD) and social-democratic party (PVDA) make a clear mark on the financial choices of municipalities. The Christian-democratic party (CDA) and the Greens (GroenLinks) do not.


Municipalities with VVD and D66 (the social-liberal party) in power clearly raise the taxes a lot less strong then other municipalities. PvdA and D66 parties cut less in the arts. Moreover, PvdA cuts less on libraries.


This is made apparent from an analysis done by de Volkskrant which looks into the correlation between the parties in power and the expenditure and income changes in local governments.


On some themes parties succeed in making different choices. City councils with VVD and D66 in power have also increased local taxes, but not nearly as much as other municipalities. In municipalities with VVD in government the average increase in local taxes has been about 11,5% between 2010 and 2013. For municipilaties without VVD in the government the tax increase was 17,3%.


Muncipalities with PvdA or D66 councillors (or also translated to: aldermen) have invested in stead of cut in arts. Municipalities with D66 councillors have invested 5,5% more in the Arts, while the other municipalities have made an average cut of 5,6% in the Arts.


With CDA-, VVD- en D66-Councillors the municipality cut more on social services – such as services for the physically challenged, social welfare and guidance to employment. When the PvdA is part of the government a council cuts more in its administrative apparatus that municipalities without the PvdA in power.


These examples mostly coincide with the political views of these parties. However, not always is a political focal point visible in the decisions municipalities have made. For example, D66, with Councillors in 84 of the 400 municipalities, has made education its number one priority. However, municipalities with D66 in power do not invest more in education then other municipalities.


GroenLinks, which is in power in 14% of the municipalities, seems hardly able to define the choices municipalties make. Even when in power. Municipalities with Groenlinks Councillors cut more in social services, and cut in low income services while other municipalities invest in them.


However, GroenLinks municipalities come from a different starting point: these municipalities still invest much more in these two fields, even if the cuts were higher. According to Rik Grashoff, front man of GroenLinks, we should take notice of these higher spending averages. It shows, he says, that there still is relatively generous policy in municipalities where GroenLinks has power. GroenLinks is also the party that invests most in childcare, which is one of their national focal points.


The CDA signature is also less visible in the municipal budgets. City councils with CDA in power cut more on infrastructure, spend more on the administrative support for the Councillors, and cut more on the administrative support for the rest of the local trias politica.


Although most political parties made a point of the environment four years ago, following the high level of attention to the environment in that year, CDA and VVD made significant cuts on the care for the local environment. In municipalities with VVD in power the average cuts were 10%, against 2% for the rest of the municipalities.


Another noticeable outcome of the statistics de Volkskrant gathered is that local parties mostly form coalitions with rightwing parties. In 82% they are part of a coalition with VVD and/or D66. Only 38% of the coalitions with local parties include a leftist party.


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