Senate approves urgency to validate tax incentives
The Senate Plenary approved last Wednesday (25) the entry into an emergency regime of PLS 130/2014, which promotes the validation of tax incentives granted by states to companies. As a result, the project gains priority to be voted ahead of others and is no longer subject to regulatory formalities such as deadlines and interstices, and may be completed more quickly.
The decision to put the project in urgency was taken at a meeting of senators with the Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, this morning. The forecast now is that the proposal will already be put to a vote next week.
- This decision is a wise decision and I hope that the project will be approved as quickly as possible - celebrated Senator Luiz Henrique (PMDB-SC), rapporteur of the matter and author of the substitute that will be voted by the Plenary.
The validation will represent the regularization of tax benefits that the federation units grant to companies so that they can establish themselves in their territories, generating jobs and income and promoting economic growth. Many of these benefits were offered in disagreement with current rules, which senators consider very strict, and there is competition between states in the concession - a phenomenon that is known as "fiscal war".
- This debate started back there. It has to do with regional development and strengthening the economies of emerging states. Not validating them puts at risk a whole set of tax incentives that benefited the country's economic deconcentration - commented Senator Ricardo Ferraço (PMDB-ES).
For a state to be able to grant tax benefits to companies, it is necessary to obtain unanimity among all units of the federation in the National Council for Farm Policy (Confaz). For Senator Delcídio do Amaral (PT-MS), president of the Economic Affairs Commission (CAE), this rule benefits states like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are more attractive to companies and can veto the incentives promoted by others on their own.
- The other states are concerned with the validation, which is a threat over the heads of all units of the federation. We cannot lose this agenda - he urged.
Ferraço defended the need for the Senate to reach a consensus on this matter soon. He criticized the federal government for not having touched on the subject yet, and recalled that Minister Joaquim Levy had promised to bring proposals for the topic even before taking office, but he has not yet done so.
"So we have no other choice but to go ahead and fulfill our responsibilities," he said.
Walter Pinheiro (PT-BA) also lamented the lack of dialogue between the Executive and Congress regarding the matter. He still hopes that there can be a joint action between the powers to promote a wide-ranging reform in the federal pact, which covers the fiscal war, but sees no possibility of Congress not acting, even if alone.
- If the government does not present anything by Tuesday, then be patient. [Minister] Levy is still there and we are still here. I would not like this scenario. Contributions must not run parallel, they must converge. But that process had been defined since before - he resigned himself.
Senator José Serra (PSDB-SP) said he believes the urgency is dangerous, as it would speed up the process of the project without due discussion. He sees the proposal as incomplete, as it does not include other aspects of a broad reform of the federal pact, such as the unification of the interstate rates of the ICMS and the creation of a regional development fund.
"This project, as it stands, will greatly increase confusion in the country," he warned.
It was hit by Senator Lúcia Vânia (PSDB-GO), author of the original project, who recalled that the text had already been widely discussed by CAE and was even included in the Plenary's voting agenda in December. Senator Luiz Henrique also defended the bill's maturity.
- The federal government authored a package of tax and tax reforms that provided for all this. With this proposal we just reaffirm the government's intention - he argued.
Source: Agência Senado (15/03)
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