BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine government said on Thursday that the country’s provinces and municipalities will receive 30 percent of the revenue from a controversial tax on soy exports.
President Cristina Fernandez announced the plan in a meeting with governors and mayors at her official residence on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
She told them she signed a decree enabling their jurisdictions to “co-participate” in the proceeds of the levy on soy exports that has sparked a year-long battle between her government and Argentina’s powerful agribusiness interests.
Fernandez said provincial administrations would share 30 percent of a “solidarity fund” financed from the 35 percent tax on exports of soy.
The provincial governments will in turn distribute 30 percent of their share to municipalities for use on public-works projects such as schools, housing and water systems, the president said, adding that the initiative is meant to “sustain economic activity and employment” and mitigate the effects of the global recession.
She said the provinces can expect to receive 6.5 billion pesos ($1.77 billion) from the soy tax, equivalent to 11 percent of what they already get from the national government in the form of revenue-sharing.
Acknowledging the diversion of tax proceeds will reduce the federal budget surplus, the president said that “maintaining the national public accounts also implies maintaining the accounts of the provinces and the municipalities.”
Fernandez’s move comes as some farmers and ranchers are resuming road-blocking protests over Congress’ refusal to debate an opposition proposal to reduce the tax on soy exports. EFE