State revenue grew almost 20% in 2004


By Adriana Thomasi, Gazeta Mercantil / Gazeta do Brasil (P.14) - 12/01/2005

Fortaleza, January 12, 2005 - According to Sefaz, considering only its own collection, real growth would be around 17,8%. The collection of Ceará reached R $ 5,022 billion in 2004, an increase of 19,52% over the same period of the previous year, which was R $ 4,202 billion - nominal values. The Finance Secretary, José Maria Mendes, estimates that the balance, discounting the estimated inflation of 6,3%, should guarantee a real increase of around 13,2%. Sefaz uses the IPCA of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), and depends on the result to apply the correction.

Of the total for 2004, approximately R $ 3,137 billion (62,46%) corresponded to own collection (ICMS, IPVA, ITCD, fees and others), an increase of 24,11%, compared to the same period in 2003, which was R $ 2,528 billion, in nominal values. If only self-collection is considered, real growth would be around 17,8%, based on estimated inflation.

Constitutional transfers, State Participation Fund (FPE), Contribution for Intervention in the Economic Domain (Cide), Royalties, Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI), Kandir Law and Export Fund, with a lower performance than registered by own revenue, pull the final index down. The result was R $ 1,885 billion, an increase of 12,6%, over the same period in 2003 (R $ 1,674 billion) - a 37,54% share, globally. When Mendes took office in August 2003, the share corresponded to 42%. Of the total sum, two revenues were not part of 2003 - Cide, which stood at R $ 29,478 million and the Export Fund, R $ 13,376 million.

Governor Lúcio Alcântara's recommendation is that Ceará should have the collection machine, following the growth of the state economy, reducing the Union's dependence on its maintenance and investments. "The important thing is that the index can go down even more and this is an effort that the state is making," he added. FPE revenue represented 34,97% in 2004, or R $ 1,756 billion, an increase of 10,23% over the previous year.

The positive result of the year, according to Mendes, is linked to the state's economic performance and the efficiency of the collection machine. In the secretary's assessment, 2003 was difficult, while 2004 showed recovery and fiscal balance. Mendes says the governor's recommendation is that the payment of personnel and public debt take priority over other expenses. The amount of remnants to be paid in 2004 is around R $ 40 million, an amount that should decrease, as these are accounts that are starting to be settled, starting this month.

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Revenue from the Tax on Circulation of Goods and Services (ICMS) reached R $ 2,994 billion, representing 59,63% in the total accumulated and nominal growth of 24,92% over the previous period. The sectors that contributed most to the collection of the tax were fuels, industry, wholesale trade, communications, retail trade and electricity (the one that grew most in percentage terms, with 39,86%).

The work started in August last year, with a reduction in the ICMS tax rate for diesel oil from 25% to 17%, equaling the index to other states in the Northeast, made it possible to increase fuel sales in Ceará. The fear was to lower the rate and not recover the collection, but this did not happen and the secretary expects an even greater result this year. "We are seeing the expansion of gas stations on state and federal highways", day.

Mendes highlights the performance of last December, which was based on the previous month, and registered record collection in the state. The growth was 77,99% over December 2003, with its own collection of R $ 405,079 million, compared to R $ 227,588 million in the same period of the previous year. The amount of ICMS increased 77,09%, reaching R $ 398,064 million, to R $ 224,785 million in the same month of the previous year and 98,27% of the global share. The IPVA totaled R $ 3,765 million in December, (R $ 1,534 million in the previous year), growth of 145,42%. The collection of 2004 was reinforced by Refis 2, in the last two months. Sefaz called on debtors to pay taxes by reducing fines and interest, making it easier to pay the principal. From the initial forecast of R $ 40 million, it reached R $ 71,828 million.

For 2005, the idea is to intensify actions in the interior of the state, which, despite the large industrial concentration, represented 5,5% of the ICMS collection last year. “We are going to do tax education work, aimed at the entrepreneur and taxpayer”, summarizes the secretary, still willing to increase the focus on the Capital. For the secretary, the economy continues to grow and will facilitate the work of better collection.

At the end of 2004, the government approved the Bill modifying the formula for calculating interest and fines on active debt, which today totals around R $ 2,5 billion and is largely “uncollectible”. "The state's policy of fines and interest was still at the time of inflation, with a rate of 10% per day and unpayable", he believes. Without interest and fines, the value of the dormant debt, as defined, would fall to around R $ 700 million.

According to the secretary, today, of each R $ 1 collected, R $ 3 are withheld. "If we get an R $ 1 more, compared to the 2004 collection, it would mean closing the year at around R $ 6 billion in ICMS", evaluates Mendes, when adding that Sefaz has been talking to all sectors. The secretary believes that it is possible to expand the collection without fiscal pressure, perhaps even by reducing the rate in some segments.

kicker: It is possible to expand the collection of the state without fiscal pressure