Costa Rica 1949 Constitution (reviewed 2020)

Table of Contents

Title XIII. The Public Finances [Hacienda

Chapter I. The Budget of the Republic

Article 176

The public administration will be conducted in a sustainable, transparent and responsible form, which will be based on a framework of multiannual budgeting, for the procurement of the continuity of the services it provides.

The ordinary budget of the Republic includes all the probable revenues and all the authorized expenditures, of the public administration, during the economic year. In no case may the amount of the budgetary expenditures exceed that of the probable revenues.

The Public Administration, in a full sense, will observe the previous rules to adopt its budgets.

The budget of the Republic will be emitted for a time period of one year, from January the first to December the thirty-first.

Article 177

The preparation of the ordinary bill corresponds to the Executive Power through a Department specialized in the matter, of which [the] head will be appointed by the President of the Republic, for a period of six years. This Department will have [the] authority to reduce or suppress any of the amounts figuring in the preliminary drafts formulated by the Ministries of Government, [the] Legislative Assembly, [the] Supreme Court of Justice and [the] Supreme Tribunal of Elections. In the case of conflict, the President of the Republic will decide definitively. The expenditures budgeted by the Supreme Tribunal of Elections to give effectiveness to the suffrage, may not be objected to by the Department to which this Article refers.

In the bill an amount no less than six percent of the ordinary revenues calculated for the economic year will be allocated to the Judicial Power. Nevertheless, when this amount results [in an amount] greater than the one required to cover the fundamental necessities budgeted by that Power, the mentioned Department will include the difference as excess [exceso], with a plan of additional investment, for the Legislative Assembly to determine what corresponds.

To reach the universality of the social insurances and dutifully guarantee the payment of the contribution of the State as such and as [an] employer, [there] will be created in favor of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social [Costa Rican Bank of Social Security] sufficient and calculated incomes in such a form that they cover the current and future needs of the Institution. If a deficit is produced because of the insufficiency of those incomes, the State will assume it, for which [purpose] the Executive Power must include in its next bill of [the] Budget the respective amount determined as necessary by the mentioned institution to cover the totality of the quota [cuotas] of the State.

The Executive Power will prepare, for the respective economic year, the bills of extraordinary budgets, to the end of investing the revenues originating from the use of public credit or from any other extraordinary source.

Article 178

The bill of ordinary budget will be submitted to the cognizance of the Legislative Assembly by the Executive Power, at the latest [on] the first of September of each year, and the Law of Budget must be definitively approved before the thirtieth of November of the same year.

Article 179

The Assembly may not augment the expenditures budgeted by the Executive Power, if the new revenues that should cover them are not specified, [with] previous report of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic on the fiscal effectiveness of them.

Article 180

The ordinary and the extraordinary budgets constitute the limit of action of the Public Powers for the use and disposition of the resources of the State, and they may only be modified by laws of the initiative of the Executive Power.

All bills of modification that imply increase or creation of expenditures must be subject to that provided in the previous Article.

Nevertheless, when the Assembly is in recess, the Executive Power may vary the allocation of an authorized amount or open additional credits, but only to satisfy urgent or unexpected necessities in the cases of war, internal commotion or public calamity. In such cases, the Office of the Comptroller may not deny its approval to the expenditures ordered and the respective decree will imply [the] convocation of the Legislative Assembly to extraordinary sessions for its cognizance.

Article 181

The Executive Power will send to the Office of the Comptroller the liquidation of the ordinary and of the extraordinary budgets that were agreed to, at the latest [on] the first of March following the expiration of the corresponding year; the Office of the Comptroller must remit it to the Assembly, together with its resolution, at the latest [on] the first of May following. The definitive approval or disapproval of the accounts corresponds to the Legislative Assembly.

Article 182

The contracts for the execution of public works [obras] celebrated by the Powers of the State, the Municipalities and the autonomous institutions, the purchases made with funds of these entities [entidades] and the sales or leases of the assets belonging to them, will be done through tender, in accordance with the law concerning the respective amount.

Chapter II. The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic

Article 183

The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is an auxiliary institution of the Legislative Assembly under the supervision of the Public Finances; but it has absolute functional and administrative independence in the performance of its work.

The Office of the Comptroller is the responsibility of a Comptroller and a Sub-Comptroller. Both functionaries will be appointed by the Legislative Assembly, two years after initiating the presidential period, for a term of eight years; they may be re-elected indefinitely, and they will enjoy the immunities and prerogatives of the members of the Supreme Powers.

The Comptroller and Sub-Comptroller respond before the Assembly for the fulfillment of their functions and may be removed by it through a vote of no less than the two-thirds part of the total of its members, if in the file created for that purpose[,] ineptitude or incorrect proceedings are proven [against] them.

Article 184

[The following] are duties and attributions of the Office of the Comptroller:

  1. To supervise the execution and liquidation of the ordinary and extraordinary budgets of the Republic.There will be no emission on any order of payment against the funds of the State but when the respective expenditure has been validated by the Office of the Comptroller; neither will that which has not been re-validated by it constitute an obligation for the State;
  2. To examine, to approve or to disapprove the budgets of the Municipalities and autonomous institutions, and supervise their execution and liquidation;
  3. To send annually to the Legislative Assembly, in its first ordinary session, a report of the corresponding operations of the previous economic year, with detail of the work of the Comptroller and [an] exposition of the opinions and suggestions that he considers necessary for the better management of the public funds;
  4. To examine, annotate and close the accounts of the institutions of the State and of the public functionaries;
  5. The others that this Constitution or the laws assign to it.

Chapter III. The National Treasury

Article 185

The National Treasury is the center of operations of all the offices of national income; this organ is the unique [one] that has legal faculty to pay in the name of the State and to receive the quantities that[,] titled as income or for any other motive, must be entered in the national coffers.

Article 186

The Treasury is the responsibility [cargo] of a National Treasurer and a Sub-Treasurer. Both functionaries enjoy independence in the exercise of their attributions, which will be regulated by the law. The appointments will be made in [the] Council of Government, for periods of four years, and these functionaries may only be removed for just cause.

Article 187

Any expenditure of [the] responsibility of the National Treasury, that is not in reference to [the] salaries of the permanent personnel of the Public Administration written into the budget, must be published in the Diario Oficial [Official Journal].

Those expenditures that, for very special circumstances, the Council of Government considers should not be published, are excepted from the formality of publication, but in this case it will confidentially and immediately inform the Legislative Assembly and the Office of the Comptroller.