almost six out of ten national civil servants perform their tasks in the city of Buenos Aireswhich reveals a regional imbalance in the distribution of resources that should be taken into account in discussions of future modification of the federal tax-sharing regime.
This was stated to Télam by the researcher of Institute of Applied Economics and Society (Ideas), Juan Ianucciin the midst of the conflict between CABA and the nation, which is being settled in the Supreme Court, relating to the distribution of funds under the regime established in 1988, when the district did not yet have autonomy.
“Discussions of how much the city should match by contribution fail to take into account that transfers have many dimensions and not all are direct and tangible,” he explained, referring to the arguments for and against setting a 1.40% aliquot for area, two and a half times less than 3.50% effective until September 2020.
In this regard, the government of Buenos Aires claims that CABA has about 6.5% of the total population of Argentina and its economy represents approximately 20% of GDP, so the percentage determined would be somewhat underestimated.
In this aspect, “This is where the city’s defense falters because it doesn’t clear the benefits it gets from being the nation’s capital.”maintains Yannuzzi, referring to a series of indirect resources that, although not part of national transfers, have an effect that cannot be omitted from the analysis of fiscal federalism.
“For example, since it is the capital, it is the seat of embassies and, in addition to the seat, the treasury and fiscal seat of most companies and countries with representation and commercial operations at the national level,” he elaborated to elaborate on the main aspect, already that “it is the seat of the federal state but functions as a province in respect of its finances”.
“Discussions of how much the city should be responsible for complicity fail to take into account that transfers have many dimensions and not all are direct and tangible”
The approach to the problem faces several complexities, among which the last official report on the gross geographical product (provincial equivalent of GDP in a national order) dates from 2004 and, on the other hand, the lack of a defined framework for the number of monotributistas that perform at the three levels of the public function.
With these exceptions (which, for example, do not account for the different regional impact of the development of the soy complex, Vaca Muerta, or the knowledge economy, embryonic 18 years ago), Iannuzzi considers the benefit that the city of Buenos Aires has in the geographical distribution of national public employment.
Thus, excluding the health and education sectors from the analysis, 58% of national public employment was found to be concentrated “in an area of 203 square kilometres”, from which it follows that the remaining 42% is distributed among the 23 provinces.
Based on 2019 reports, 52,000 Buenos Aires civil servants and 431,000 national workers work in the city: that is, 89% of public employment in the area corresponds to the latter jurisdiction.
Of the total Economically Active Population (PEA) of the city, 28% correspond to government jobs and 20% are exclusively nationala low percentage compared to most provinces, but with one peculiarity: this 28% represents 30% of salaries, which is due, according to Iannuzzi, to the fact that “the public salary is higher than the private one in CABA”.
Directly related to this imbalance in the distribution of national public employment, Yannuzzi added that “there are also great distortions in terms of territorial distribution”, to the extent that in the distribution of resources according to their geographical classification, in 2019 32.2% of the national costs were paid in the autonomous city.
The sum of all these elements, according to the Ideas researcher, should be part of the delayed debate on a new complicity law, which should have been sanctioned no later than December 31, 1996, as established in one of the transition clauses of the Constitution since 1994
“The debate should be whether (CABA) deserves 1.4% or less, more than that rate is quite questionable,” he said, referring to the rate set from January 2021 through Law 27,606.
But in parallel criticizes the attitude of the nation-state which, through successive governments, “talks a lot about concentration and inequality but does very little about decentralizing public administration”.
“The only thing that happened in recent years was in November 2020, with the sanction of the Alternative Capital Act, which really had no budgetary effect, only meetings are held,” he countered.
As a historical experience, he recalled the frustrated initiative of former President Raúl Alfonsín to create the province of Río de la Plata (with an area that would include that of CABA and the suburbs), in order to “unbalance” the asymmetries: ” it was controversial but worth it at least raise it,” he said.
Yannuzzi stated that nothing prevents the headquarters of the ministries or other organizations from being moved to other parts of the country and recalled in this regard that “there was talk of sending the YPF to the south”, but he pointed out that if the decisions of that nature was created “They must not be the exception but the rule, otherwise you will find yourself complicit in what you criticize.”