The Chamber of Deputies from the Buenos Aires provincial government passed the Vidal administration’s budget bill today, following intense negotiations with other key political actors in the largest province in the country: the Renewal Front led by Sergio Massa, the mayors from the Justicialist Party — those from Cambiemos were already in favor — and Florencio Randazzo, who doesn’t hold an official post but has a great political pull in certain sectors. Victory Front (FpV) deputies, on their end, didn’t reach an agreement and cast a divided vote.
The budget proposal is by far the most important bill an administration needs to pass in order to run a territory. It establishes the way in which it will distribute the state’s funds and, among other things, whether it will issue debt or not. Without the law, an administration is not able to function in practical terms. It’s not called the “law of laws” in Argentina for nothing.
Among its more important clauses, the bill includes expenses for over AR $522 billion, the issuing of AR $52 billion in debt and a 36 percent raise in the so-called “real estate tax.” It also includes a 17 percent salary increase for state workers, in line with the expectations the national government has for next year’s rate of inflation.
However, the agreement didn’t come easy. It required intense negotiation that went on until just before votes were cast in Congress. According to La Nación, all parties finally agreed on the following clauses:
- More funds for district mayors: AR $8.5 billion for infrastructure and getting more funds from the revenue the State gets from taxing the gambling industry.
- The tax on all gambling operations will go from 12 to 15 percent and casinos will have to charge a AR $20 entry fee.
Vidal also accepted limiting the amount of money she will be able to reallocate at will, from 8 to 7 percent of the total budget, but the key component that moved the negotiations forward was the fact that her administration agreed to issue debt for AR $52 million instead of the AR $93 it had planned on issuing originally.
As for appointing officials to key offices of the state, the PJ got to choose the province’s public defendant while the FR is able to appoint one of its deputies as first Vice President of the Lower House. The chamber’s leadership spot will be for Cambiemos to decide, but what’s most important is that Vidal gets to avoid beginning 2017 with the province she runs being in bureaucratic flames.