Governors Sergio Uñac and Juan Manuel Urtubey sit on either side of Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio after a meeting to discuss federal co-participation. Photo via Infobae

Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio met with 13 Peronist provincial governors yesterday at the Casa Rosada to discuss the issue of federal co-participation — which are funds divided between each province drawn from the total tax revenue collected by the State — because, to put it simply, many are more than a little upset about not having received their due when others have, and because they think the system overall should be reformed.

You see, yesterday morning, the government authorized for almost AR$ 4 billion to be handed back to seven provinces (Córdoba, Chubut, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, Mendoza, Neuquén and Santa Fe) via decree. This was in line with a Court order back in November ruling that the government must divest funds to the provinces after 15 percent of their federal co-participation funds had been cut for years.

To add salt to the wound, the government almost doubled the City of Buenos Aires’ co-participation funds a couple of weeks ago in what basically amounted to proof that the capital is that sibling who always gets the best toys at Christmas. At least this demonstration of “favoritism” was solved yesterday when Frigerio, like any fair parent, announced that the government would take BA City’s toys away will sign yet another decree to  limit the funds the capital receives. Frigerio said that the co-participation funds granted would be destined to transferring part of the federal police under the command of the City Government.

Back to yesterday’s meeting. Frigerio has said that the government will “get up to speed” with the provinces over the next five weeks with the upcoming talks. The government is under pressure to negotiate federal co-participation not only because the Supreme Court ruled that it should, but also because the provinces’ threat to take them to court is very real: Santa Fe, San Luis and Córdoba won their legal case last year on getting their funds back.

Just decide what to do with the co-participation funds already.

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In addition, Frigerio stated that progress had been made and promised overall changes to the system:

“We will begin a reconstruction process to build a federal country [given that] in the past 12 years Argentina has become more unitario than ever.”

Unitario refers to a political faction and ideology established during the Argentine Civil Wars which basically sought to establish a centralized government based in Buenos Aires Province. Basically, the opposite of what federal co-participation is supposed to do.

Anyway, let’s hope it works out. The governor of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey, who was also present at the press conference, said that this was a “good form of political relations” between the government and the opposition. Since the government has been trying to develop its relationship with Peronism and not gotten very far, this could be considered a win.

For the full low-down on what’s been going on with federal co-participation lately, check out this article by The Bubble.