Following a more than two-hour meeting this morning with President Luis Guillermo Solis, former president, Oscar Arias, said he is willing to help with the country’s fiscal deficit, although without much optimism.
“I’m skeptical,” Arias told reporters after the meeting that was held in home in Rohrmoser.
Arias recalled the difficulty to achieve national agreements and pointed out failed attempts in the administrations of Abel Pacheco (2002-2006), his second term (2006-2010) and that of Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014).
The former president warns that any tax increases should be accompanied by spending cuts, urging a progressive tax reform, that is, charging more those in the high income group.
“We are playing with fire,” said Arias.
Accompanying the president at the meeting were the Minister of Finance, Helio Fallas and the Minister of the Presidency (Chief of Staff) Sergio Afaro.
Rodrigo Arias, Oscar’s brother and Ministro de la Presidencia in his administration, also sat in on the meeting.
Rodrigo Arias explained that (during the 2006-2010 administration) due to the global economic crisis, the government was forced “strengthen” public employment with better salaries to certain professionals; however, he acknowledged that they did not anticipate that this would cause a chain effect on other groups of public officials.
“Perhaps we did not have all information from the Civil Service,” said Rodrigo Arias, during the meeting.
This is the first meeting between Solis and Arias since Solis took the presidency in May 2014. The two men had met before that, on February 2, 2014, during the 2014 presidential race.
Since then, both men have criticized each other publicly, but, this morning they put all that aside.
On Monday, August 10, Solis is expected to hold a similar meeting with former president Abel Pacheco.
No word from Casa Presidencial if President Solis will be meeting any time soon with former president Laura Chinchilla. Last month, Chinchilla took a took of Guanacaste a few days ahead of Solis’ visit, ahead of the July 25 holiday.
The Solis administration expressed their unhappiness with the timing of the Chinchilla tour.