The Easter bunny in the form of Wheel of Fortune Renzi came early to lots of Italian tax payers this year. After his cabinet meeting he took to the podium to announce €10 Billion in tax cuts for those earning between €8,000 and €26,000 a year. It will mean some 10 million Italians will get to keep €80 a month out of the hands of the voracious State which can never be a bad thing can it.
The announcement came a few days after The Bank of Italy announced that Government debt is at it’s highest level ever and this four years after Berlusconi was ousted by the EU Mandarins for failing to lower it. In fact the debt just kept spiralling upwards but as the financial markets no longer worry about debt when investing in bonds who cares.
The big question in the papers this morning is how is he going to pay for it? Well he opened with a three of real vote grabbers for the european election which he needs to win comfortably having seized power in a back-room coup 3 months ago. He has capped State owned industrial senior management salaries at €240,000 a year max. So for example the Airport director at little Bari airport will take a €270,000 pay cut. Then he went on to announce that he is drastically reducing the number of State owned cars that chauffeur the machinery of State around Italy but mainly to rather fancy restaurants most evenings. There are in excess of 700,000 of them ( I kid you not). Renzi is reducing that to just 5 per ministry saying yesterday “let the rest discover the pleasure of walking “. Finally he said all local and regional governments must publish their expenses for last year within 60 days or he will cut their funds off from Central Government. Oh boy I bet there was some midnight oil being burnt around the country last night. Maybe the gravy train that is local government is finally coming to an end. You only need to look around this area and see the lifestyle these petty councillors ( and there are loads of them ) have and the houses (yes plural) they own.
However after the populist stuff things got a bit more pie in the sky. My wife reckons I have a strange way of accounting. Things like we didn’t go to the UK last week so lets blow the £1,800 we “saved” . She tries to point out we didn’t budget for the trip so we haven’t saved it but that is pure semantics isn’t it.
Well I have a new ally in Renzi. The rest of his speech pretty much followed my style of accounting. If was the most used word and I’m sure his masters in Brussels will be on the first plane down here after their four week Easter break of course. Indeed Forza Italia said today it was just a dream.
But hey it’s Easter and believe it or not the weather actually got a little better today ( it stopped raining). So we have been able to venture out to see what 6 inches of rain in three days did to the garden etc.
We are entertaining tomorrow cooking lamb of course which is the staple here in Puglia for Easter Sunday. Then on Monday Pasquetta as it is called we are off to enjoy some cucina povera or poor peoples cooking. It is not a derogatory remark though. Rather it exemplifies what Puglia cooking is all about. Using local stuff found in the fields and making wholesome dishes from it. As one old guy said to me the rich never ate what they thought were weeds growing in the fields so we were able to, and some great dishes they make from them too.
So we are off to the butcher this evening ( sometimes the siesta break in the afternoon works in our favour as he is now open till 8 p.m.) and then hit the bar for a beer or two on the way home. I have all my Amazon packages delivered there now as the drivers seem to love delivering stuff to bars whereas they profess never to be able to find private houses in the countryside and you must drive into Martina Franca to collect them. My new strimmer is winging it’s way to the bar as i write but more about that next week.
Enjoy your Saturday evening.