Facade of the Federal Supreme Court (Photo: José Cruz / Agência Brasil)
The dispute for appeals between the Powers has reached the Supreme Court (STF). At least nine states have had to turn to the Court or have been brought by it because of delays and attempts to reduce the amount of monthly transfers to the judiciary and legislature over the past two years. Faced with deficit budgets, which hinder investments in basic areas and even lead to the payment of salaries of civil servants, governments try to share the fiscal adjustment with agencies that, in many cases, have a surplus.
Owners of "restocking funds", Courts of Justice, Legislative Assemblies and autonomous bodies, with the State Prosecutors, apply the so-called twelfths (there are 12 transfers per year) in millionaire works across the country, in the midst of crisis. The São Paulo Court of Justice, for example, plans to erect two new towers for R $ 1.2 billion. The Public Prosecutor of Tocantins, on the other hand, invests around R $ 4 million in the construction and renovation of promotions in the interior and Palmas. And the Goiás Legislature builds a 44,000 m² headquarters valued at R $ 112 million.
Conceived since 2001, the new building of the Assembly of Goiás is paid with resources from the twelfth of the House, which this year could reach $ 97 million, or $ 1.1 billion per year, larger budget than the governor designed Ronaldo Caiado (DEM) in the Budgetary Guidelines Law: R $ 69 million.
The deputies approved R $ 157 million per month and even overturned the veto made by Caiado to the bill. Then, they agreed to reduce the resource for investments and maintenance by R $ 60 million, not including personnel expenses. "The law says that the percentage must be at least 3% of revenue, which would give $ 157 million. But, due to the state crisis, we made a deal. We do not need this exorbitant value, even touching a work "stated the president of the Assembly of Goiás, Lissauer Vieira (PSDB). The forecast deficit in the state for 2020 is $ 3.5 billion.
The battles fought individually are the result of a nearly two-decade wait for the Supreme Court to judge suspended articles of the Fiscal Responsibility Law that could ease state coffers. One would allow the executive to split the fiscal squeeze between the powers. The trial was halted in August when the score was 5 to 5 – Minister Celso de Mello's vote is missing.
Without a general rule, each state can negotiate individual agreements. It will be up to the Supreme to decide, for example, whether Rio Grande do Sul can uphold its decision to freeze its 2020 budget, eliminating the chance of readjustment in the twelfths.
Santa Catarina, Paraná and Goiás also tried unsuccessfully to "save" on transfers during the voting of their respective LDOs, but without appealing to the Supreme.
Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Roraima, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Paraíba and Rio were sued in court after delaying the installments, which must be paid by the 20th – today are normalized. Amapá has already filed the STF to pay less to the Court.
After being defeated in the Legislative Assembly of Santa Catarina in its attempt to reduce monthly transfers by $ 500 million, from a linear cut of 10%, the government of Commander Moses (PSL) struck a deal with the heads of the Powers that expects a return of R $ 268 million by the end of the year.
"This shows that there is plenty of resources. But only six of the 40 deputies voted in favor of the reduction. The return, therefore, is an achievement, although not the ideal model," said the head of the Santa Catarina Civil House, Douglas. Borba. Similar situation occurred in Paraná. Mouse Junior (PSD) tried to reduce the value of transfers without success. The change in the tax base, for less, was vetoed in the Assembly, but the government made sure that the payment of pensions of the TJ and MP no longer leaves the state coffers. Two other changes will help ease the bill: the government will stop paying court and extrajudicial court costs and keep the twentieth "leftovers" at the end of each year. The total sum reaches R $ 150 million. "In the end, it was 'them for them,'" said the head of the Paraná Civil House, Guto Silva.
For Adib Kassouf Sad, an administrative law expert, the lack of up-to-date legislation on the payment of twelfths – the law dates from 1964 – and the lack of control over the quality of spending lead to doubts about transfers. "But they are constitutional, they serve to ensure independence among the Powers, which cannot hold the saucer in hand. We need to begin to evaluate the efficiency of the use of public money, by whatever body."
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