If, on Monday, December 11, 2023, the Paris council voted, without suspense, its 2024 budget for an amount of 11.3 billion euros, it was another figure that made the opposition jump: 9.9 billion euros. That is to say the level of debt which should be reached by the City at the end of the socialist councilor’s second term, in 2026, according to the forecasts of his own majority.

The debt “was 4 billion in 2014”, during the first election of Anne Hidalgo as mayor, recalls municipal councilor (Horizons) Pierre-Yves Bournazel, while Maud Gatel, deputy (MoDem) and councilor of Paris, considers this financial trajectory “particularly worrying”, highlighting “the increase in the City’s debt reduction period”, which goes from thirteen to fifteen years by 2024.

How did we get here ? Between the Paris City Hall and its opposition, it is a perpetual war of figures and their interpretation. Mr. Bournazel, candidate for Mayor of Paris in 2026, has continued to point out, for years, “a City that is living beyond its means”. “There are many avenues to reduce operating expenses, but where is the savings plan of 200-250 million euros promised in 2022 by the municipal executive? “, he asks.

Marie-Claire Carrère-Gée, Les Républicains (LR) president of the finance committee at the Paris council, denounces “the mismanagement of subsidies to associations, the intense pre-emption of apartments to transform them into social housing for electoral purposes and the recruitment of 650 agents in 2023, in addition to the 58,000 existing agents…” She fears “a new development, a risk of an avalanche effect. We are accumulating a lot of debt, and we must now take into account the explosion in interest rates, which are added to these uncontrolled operating expenses. If we continue like this, the City’s finances will soon be in the hands of the banks and the State.

“Tight balance”

Desire to preserve the quality of its public and municipal services, structuring investments, implementation of an energy sobriety plan to save money, replies the Parisian executive. Who is not alarmed by anything, especially not by his intact capacity to get into debt, basing his conviction on the Standard rating agency