Law No. 724 of October 29 1984 introduced the regime of the Tesoreria Unica with respect to regions and other public entities. According to this regime, and prior to the coming into force of the recent amendments, regions, which were included in Table B of Law No. 724, had to deposit the majority of their available funds and revenues with the Central State Treasury.
In particular, regions were obliged to deposit cash in special non-interest bearing accounts opened with the Central State Treasury – which is an entity directly regulated by the Ministry of Finance - with the exclusion of: (i) 3% of cash that could have been held by regions with their own treasurer banks, as provided for by Article 40 of Law No. 119 of March 30 1981; and (ii) certain revenues including proceeds deriving from loans, note issues, sales of assets and collections of receivables.
Law No. 388 of December 23 2000 (Financial Law for the year 2001 – below Law No. 388) has recently modified the Tesoreria Unica regime with respect to regions.
Under Article 66 of Law No. 388, as of March 1 2001 regions have been moved from Table B to Table A (in which other local authorities such as municipalities and provinces had been previously included). Such a change has caused relevant consequences for regions.
Firstly, the special non-interest bearing accounts opened by ordinary regions (regioni a statuto ordinario) with the Central State Treasury will now be replaced with special non-interest bearing deposits opened with the provincial offices of the State Treasury located in the capital of each region. The result will be a wider autonomy granted to ordinary regions in managing their available resources. According to the newly-implemented regime, only contributions and allocations by the central government in favour of regions will be deposited in the accounts mentioned above. All other revenues of the regions including, but not limited to, proceeds from loans and note issues to be repaid directly by regions, and regional additions to income tax, may freely be kept with regional treasurer banks without the 3% restriction.
The recent amendment will therefore have a positive effect on regional finances since the autonomy of the regions will be increased in line with the principles of the Italian Constitution and with the prevailing trend towards federalism.
Special regions (regioni a statuto speciale), with the exclusion of Sicily and Trentino Alto Adige for which a special regime was already in place, were also substantially subject to the same regime as provided for ordinary regions prior to the introduction of Law No. 388: they were in fact allowed to hold their available funds with their treasurer banks only to the extent permitted by Article 40 of Law No. 119, ie up to 3%.
Law No. 388 is now applicable also to special regions, but the actual changes to the procedures and methods of managing the cash flows by such regions will have to be expressly regulated by specific regulations to be adopted in accordance with the statutes of special regions.