The plan for the Fiscal Recovery Regime (RRF) advanced another stage in the Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais (ALMG) this Tuesday (14/11). Bill (PL) 1,202/19 was approved in a vote at the Public Administration Commission, which deals with Governor Romeu Zema’s (Novo) proposal to adjust the state’s accounts in the face of billion-dollar debt with the Union. The text now must go through the Financial and Budgetary Inspection Committee before going to plenary in the 1st round. Despite the progress, the government’s agenda suffered from obstructive actions by opposition deputies and the day in parliament was marked by a large presence of civil servants who oppose the project.
The text was approved with favorable votes from João Magalhães (MDB), Nayara Rocha (PP) and Zé Laviola (Novo). They followed the report of President Roberto Andrade (Patriota). Voted against: Beatriz Cerqueira (PT), Professor Cleiton (PV) and Sergeant Rodrigues (PL).
Before the vote, which only took place at night, Tuesday in the Assembly was the stage for a public hearing hosted by the Secretary of State for Finance, Gustavo Barbosa. He responded to questions from deputies about the RRF and was the target of criticism, boos and protests from hundreds of public servants and entities from Minas Gerais present at the session.
This is the second time that Barbosa goes to the Assembly in a public hearing marked by criticism from opposition deputies, who question the lack of information from the Treasury regarding the RRF plan, sent to the Legislature in October with a deadline for voting by the end of this year. . On the first occasion, on October 24, the secretary was accompanied by colleagues Gustavo Valadares, heading the Government Secretariat, and Luísa Barreto, from the Planning and Management department.
The session took place in the José Alencar Auditorium, which was full of state employees. Entities representing the civil service gathered hundreds of people in the Assembly lobby. Barbosa’s speeches were met with boos and protests from those present. At one point, after shouting and swearing by an employee, the hearing was suspended for around two minutes.
The RRF is pointed out by government officials as a ‘bitter medicine’ necessary for the debt of around R$160 billion with the Union to be adequate for the budget. If approved, the regime determines a series of fiscal austerity measures, such as the provision of only two salary adjustments for civil servants of 3% each during the nine years of the measure’s validity. According to the Finance Secretariat, even with the Fiscal Recovery having positive approval from deputies, the state’s debts to the federal government will be around R$210 billion in 2032.
Opposition maintains strategy
Parliamentarians opposed to Zema’s management criticized Barbosa’s speeches at the public hearing and praised his own efforts to obstruct the agenda. In the Public Administration Commission, for example, it took eight sessions before the RRF was finally voted on. The deputy leader of the opposition bloc, Lohanna França (PV) highlighted that deputies will continue with the strategy of inviting secretaries to public hearings and exploring the discussion of the topic as much as possible.
“(Secretary Gustavo Barbosa) was not convinced and we understand that the climate is changing in the Assembly. It is very important to make this clear because, a while ago, the government had an easier approval scenario, but every day it is discussed, the lack of knowledge on the part of the secretary becomes more exposed and it becomes more difficult to convince civil servants that they are not will have real losses. There is pressure on parliamentarians that is legitimate pressure from Minas Gerais society,” he said in an interview.
Also in an interview during the hearing, Beatriz Cerqueira highlighted that Zema’s recent nods to the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) symbolize a perception that there is openness to dialogue in Brasília. The deputy, however, criticized what she considers a difficulty in contact between Minas Gerais parliamentarians and the governor, who has been traveling to China for more than a week.
“What a priority this trip to China is. Who pays for this trip as a matter that impacts the lives of the entire population of Minas Gerais, was left here with the order to process it quickly? This lack of leadership we have today in Minas is regrettable,” he said.
Pacheco enters the negotiation
This Thursday, Rodrigo Pacheco has an agenda with the President of the Assembly, Tadeu Leite (MDB) to discuss the RRF. The presence of block leaders from the Minas Gerais Legislature is still being negotiated. The meeting takes place after Zema sent a letter to the president of the Senate asking for support in negotiations with the federal government, at the end of October. The senator responded by saying he was “open to dialogue” and “willing to help.”
According to Cássio Soares, the Minas Gerais debt, in its current form, would be charged at around R$1.4 billion per month if measures are not taken, either via negotiation with the federal government or RRF. The deputy states that this charge would make investments in the state and even paying employees on time unfeasible. He said that dialogue with Pacheco creates new paths for Zema’s management.
“Until then, the government had a federal law that deals with the Fiscal Recovery Regime as a single alternative and the government is completely open to other alternatives that are more viable, more feasible and with the possibility that the state does not lose this investment capacity . So Governor Romeu Zema sent Senator Rodrigo Pacheco a request for help in communicating with the federal government, considering his political strength and being from Minas Gerais so that the federal government can be more accessible and have other possibilities that are less harmful than the regime. of fiscal recovery”, said Soares.
Asked about a possible suspension of the processing of Bill 1,202/19, which deals with the state government’s plan to join the RRF, in the Assembly, Soares conditioned the chance on the outcome of this week’s meeting with Pacheco.
Education employees, one of the various categories of civil servants present in the Assembly, approved this Tuesday a 48-hour strike on the 21st and 22nd of November. During the two days, they will hold a permanent vigil at the Minas Gerais Legislative building to pressure parliamentarians to overturn the Tax Recovery Regime PL.
“We need to be here participating, because this PL will end the functional lives of education workers. There are nine years of salary freezes, without competitions and with our careers ended. Remembering that we are the breadwinners of the family and that this all harms the state’s economy as a whole”, Marcelle Amador, communications director of the Single Union of Education Workers (Sind-UTE-MG), told the report.