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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow City Budget Hits 1 Trillion Rubles

With both revenues and expenditures rising steadily, Moscow's projected city budget for 2008 has reached the 1 trillion ruble mark.

The planned outlays, equivalent to $39 billion, dwarf those of London, where the budget for 2007-2008 calls for expenditures of $6.2 billion, but still lags behind the $59 billion in spending called for in New York's 2008 budget, City Hall finance department spokesman Dmitry Filyushkin said Tuesday.

"Moscow's spending and revenues have both been growing steadily since 2004," Filyushkin said.

Moscow's projected budget deficit has also been growing in the last several years, the finance department web site says. In 2008, the city's predicted budget deficit could reach 175.5 billion rubles ($6.8 billion), Filyushkin said.

But City Duma Deputy Ivan Novitsky, who is a member of the budget and finance commission and who took part in Tuesday's budget meeting, said Moscow could actually end up in the black by the end of 2008.

"The budget deficit usually ends up being covered by the sale of city property and the placement of bonds," Novitsky said.

Filyushkin said the deficit that had been predicted in 2006, for example, never materialized.

But United Russia State Duma Deputy Alexander Lebedev dismissed the claims, saying bond placements still meant debt and that the sale of property usually brought disadvantageous prices for the city.

The budget will go to the City Duma by September, where it will have to pass in three readings by the start of December before being sent to the mayor to be signed into law.

Large portions of the budget have been allocated for social programs, including education, mass media and construction projects. The city plans to spend some 70 billion rubles on covering social welfare costs.

A total of 149.6 billion rubles ($5.8 billion) has been earmarked for education and 7.1 billion rubles for television and print media, Filyushkin said. Twenty-five billion rubles will go to the construction of municipal buildings, the Gazeta daily reported Monday.

A large part of the city's budget is actually not targeted at the city at all, Filyushkin said.

Those expenditures include 8.2 billion rubles ($320 million) to be invested in airports in the Bryansk, Kaluga, Lipetsk, Petrozavodsk, Tambov and Volgograd regions, and 500 million rubles for the purchase of land in the same places.

Another 80 million rubles ($3.1 million) are to be invested in the Udokan copper field in the Chita region.

Filyushkin said the regional spending was justified because it always benefits the city one way or another.

But Lebedev, a longtime opponent of Mayor Yury Luzhkov's policies, said construction projects in other regions only benefited private companies "with close ties to city authorities."