If Veracruz were a business it would be bankrupt, said the state’s Finance Secretary this week.
Clementina Guerrero, who took control of state finances two weeks ago after the resignation of her predecessor, said in an interview that the situation was “very serious,” but on a more positive note said the state would have to carry on and that “it will do so.”
But not without some extra cash.
She said about 8 billion pesos (US $388 million) was currently needed, mostly for the payment of salaries. But there’s no money either for other expenses such as fuel for police patrol vehicles or food for state prisons.
More money will be required in January, Guerrero said, estimating that another 10.2 billion pesos will be needed in part for mandatory year-end bonuses.
She said state authorities would have to implement austerity measures, but support would also be needed from the federal government.
The 8 billion pesos required for immediate needs is just about what former governor Javier Duarte spent on advertising and promotion during his nearly six years in office.
The newspaper Reforma reported today that Duarte’s administration spent 8.727 billion pesos promoting his image and the activities of his government, largely with television advertising on TV Azteca and Televisa.
But much of that money remains unpaid. The state’s debt to media companies amounts to 900 million pesos.
Meanwhile, at least 514.9 million pesos in promotional spending went to phantom companies that do not exist.
Duarte is now wanted on corruption charges but his whereabouts are unknown.