Many experts believe that the transition from the 2012 May Executive Orders to the 2018 May Executive Orders and the launch of the so-called national projects began a new era in interbudgetary relations. The regions used to consider salary increase as their number one priority, while the federal center was often not able to help with financing. At the moment, more attention is paid to the infrastructure, and regions can now receive hundreds of billions of rubles from national projects. Invest Foresight spoke about this situation with Acting Governor of the Kursk Region Roman Starovoit on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum, organized by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).
– Mr. Starovoit, experts mention a totally new model of interaction between regional budgets and the federal center. What is the main difference between the year 2019 and the previous era, in terms of interbudgetary relations?
– The key difference is that the share of regional co-financing is now 5% per 95% of the federal money, if we speak about the Kursk Region. This is a totally new situation. That is, the federal government saw a continuous underfunding and weakness of regional budgets, especially those of the subsidized regions. We were not able to implement the May Executive Order. This is the key difference. And, of course, the issues of information support, involvement of the public and gaining its trust are no less important.
– If the financing is mainly federal, the share of regional co-financing will drop. Can it turn federal agencies into dictators who will be deciding what facilities to build in the regions?
– The projects developed in accordance with the May Executive Order are structured vertically. There are project curators in the federal government but the project offices are led by heads of Russian regions. There will be no dictatorship because the projects are implemented in the regions themselves and the region will decide what objects should be built as part of the project. All projects will be implemented following an open discussion with the residents; they are the people who will use the new facilities.
– In your opinion, does the financial well-being of the region depend more on the federal money in the new model?
– Fortunately, the Kursk Region budget was balanced enough, and it remains balanced. The regions has a low debt load, one of the country’s lowest. That is, our budget policy was conservative and cautious; therefore all this does not affect us as much as other regions with a much higher debt load.