Unitarian vs. Federal?: Larreta called Nestor Kirchner a unitary

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In the midst of the fight for co-participation for the police and the controversy over subsidies for Buenos Aires transport, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta took advantage of an act, practically a supporter in which he signed a tourism agreement with Gerardo Morales (Jujuy), Gustavo Valdés (Corrientes) and Rodolfo Suárez (Mendoza), to blame former President Néstor Kirchner for the concentration of resources in the national government and the AMBA.

“We have a great challenge to rebuild a federal country. Argentina has never been as unitary as it is now. And that is the responsibility of a man from Santa Cruz who was the one who took all the funds at the national level in the early 2000s and that was not reversed. We must have a federal country where each province can be the architect of its destiny, decide its works and priorities. This mega concentration that has taken place in the national government and what this generates in the AMBA is not good for anyone. The AMBA is not capable of providing worthy services to the people who live around it”, said the head of the Buenos Aires Government.

However, when former President Mauricio Macri raised the percentage of co-participation funds to the City Government from 1.4 to 3.50, the mayor of Buenos Aires did not refer to unitarism, nor to the concentration of resources in the AMBA .

Even when the national government in charge of President Alberto Fernández takes away 1.18% of the co-participation from the City, Larreta approached his claim to the Supreme Court of Justice where he requested for 2022 about 120 billion pesos of the co-participation. for the resources that were cut and compensation for what he stopped receiving in 2020 and 2021, which is around another 100 billion.

Horacio Rodríguez Larreta is right, Argentina is a country that should be federal without depending on the political banner of whoever governs it, or at least that is what the National Constitution details in its 1st article: “The Argentine Nation adopts for its government the republican representative form federal”.

But regulations such as the 1988 Fiscal Co-participation Law are opposed to this federalist guideline, since it does not explain what the co-participation percentages that go to each province depend on. While in other countries it depends on objective indicators such as population density, the poverty rate and other objective indicators, this law does not explain it.

The law even excludes the City of Buenos Aires and Tierra del Fuego from the co-participation funds shared by all the provinces. This percentage is derived directly from the percentage that corresponds to the Nation and does not modify what the other provinces receive, for what the National Executive Power can change the percentages that these two provinces receive. In this way, both what former President Mauricio Macri did, in 2016 and 2018, by increasing the City’s percentage of co-participation, and what the current President, Alberto Fernández, did in 2020, by shrinking it, is legal. Now, was he following some kind of federal guideline?

The Fiscal Law of Co-participation of 1988 makes it clear that although Néstor Kirchner contributed to unitarism in Argentina, he was far from starting with it. And although Horacio Rodríguez Larreta defends federalism in his speech, does his actions really endorse it? Are you contributing to federalism by asking the City for more funds?

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