The Chamber of Deputies approved a device that allows the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) to pay a lower healthcare minimum in 2023, in an attempt to resolve the legal and budgetary impasse created by the sanction of the new fiscal framework.
The article was included in the latest version of the opinion on the complementary bill that deals with the Union’s compensation to states and municipalities for cuts in ICMS, a state tax, in 2022. The change was made by the rapporteur, deputy Zeca Dirceu (PT-PR) , who is also leader of the party in the Chamber.
The measure is aligned with the interests of the economic team, which has been seeking solutions to the problem, as shown by Sheet.
The sanction of the new fiscal framework created an impasse by immediately revoking the spending cap rule, which provided for a lower floor for the areas of Health and Education, corrected only by annual inflation.
With this, the constitutional rules that allocate 15% of the RCL (net current revenue) to Health and 18% of the RLI (net tax revenue) to Education come into force again.
In the last bimonthly Budget report, released on July 22, the government took as a basis an RCL of R$1.258 trillion.
In this scenario, the minimum proportion of investment in Health would be R$188.7 billion. The reserved allocation, however, is R$170.65 billion, according to the budget execution summary report for the month of July.
The value is higher than the floor of R$147.9 billion in the spending cap rule, but R$18 billion lower than the minimum linked to revenues.
The Minister of Planning and Budget, Simone Tebet, said in a press conference on August 31 that requiring the government to comply with this rule would impose a shutdown on other ministries. The scenario is considered unfeasible.
To solve the problem, Zeca Dirceu included an article that sets the RCL provided for in the Budget Law, sanctioned in January, as the reference for the Health floor in 2023. In this document, revenue was estimated at R$ 1.138 trillion, and 15% This results in a minimum of R$170.76 billion — much closer to the current allocation.
If any supplementation is still necessary, the project also provides that it will be used for transfers from the National Health Fund to state and municipal health funds.
The government had been discussing the presentation of a consultation on the topic to the TCU (Federal Audit Court). The government’s thesis is that the complementary law of the new fiscal framework provides for the maintenance of the maximum limits for spending already approved for 2023, and the same logic should be applied to constitutional minimums.
Until now, however, the government has not formalized consultation with the TCU, which has generated discomfort in the court. There is a reading that the Executive is trying to avoid the political strain of leaving its fingerprint on a document that can be seen as a request to disregard health and education minimums.
On Tuesday (12), the Federal Budget Secretary, Paulo Bijos, said that the solution to comply with the constitutional minimum resources in health and education in 2023 was still open.
He reiterated the government’s intention to send the consultation to the TCU, but admitted that the next steps would be evaluated given the existence of representation from the Public Ministry at the TCU on the same issue. The case was opened on September 5th.
At the time, he said that “it is the government’s intention” to pursue the matter, but “the important thing is the thesis”.
After the approval of the project in the Chamber, government sources privately stated that the device represents “a good solution” to the problem.