O papel das transferências intergovernamentais na equalização fiscal dos municípios brasileiros

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Cunha, Armando
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With decentralization w h ich has chara cterized the brazilian federation in the last fe w decades, the municipalities received more assignments and responsibilities, implementing public policies and providing basic services for population. However, since the own municipal revenues are capable of fund ing only partially these activities, it bec omes necessary a high volume of grants that flow s from central levels to sub national levels of government. Furthermore , Brazil is a country with a vast and heterogeneous territory, where municipalities with different self financing capability, as well as d ifferent demands from population, coexist in the same federalist system. In light of this, it becomes fundamental studying the grants distribution, verifying if the municipalities that need more financial support have been the effectively benefited. This p rocess of reducing the horizontal disparities that emerge from different tax bases and local demands is called fiscal equalization. The fiscal equalization allows residents in different municipalities receiving the same public service level given the tax c harge assumed by them (net fiscal benefit), it means, the equalization promotes the equity in the public services provision, as well as avoids the allocational inefficiency derived from migrations encouraged by fiscal benefits. To create the fiscal equaliz ation , grants must benefit those municipalities with less er self financing capability and greater fiscal needs associated with costs and demands for public services. In this sense, this study aims to assess the effect of intergovernmental transfers in the municipalities’ fiscal equalization, considering the main proxies of fisca l capacity – potential of creating own revenue – and fiscal need – volume of resources demanded in the municipality due region’s and population’s characteristics. The analysis is rea lized to each transfer’s group, ranging from those with an essentially redistributive finality, to those predominantly devolutive , as the 'cota - parte de ICMS'. The results show that some transfers, as FPM, contribute little to fiscal equalization, in spite of the redistributive nature implicit in this grant, as well as some conditional transfers, as FUNDEB, although they don’t aim correct the horizontal disparities in the capability of local government realizing their function s , can imply a positive effect to fiscal equalization in the federation’s local level. Another important result emerge d from analysis is the Bolsa - família transfer’s effect in the equali zation, because this transfer minimize the distortions realized by all other grants distributed to mu nicipalities. The Bolsa - família, although it’s not a intergovernmental transfer, was included in the analysis since it’s represents an expressive amount of resources, competes for resources with others grants and has a potential effect similar to the other intergovernmental transfers in the scope of fiscal equalization, given that releases resources in the local budget that, otherwise, could be committed with the local social policy. Another relevant result is the observation that voluntary transfers affect less the equalization, it means, they don’t contribute to this aim nor prejudice the horizontal disparities reduction, being relatively neutral or less intervenient in relation demands and fiscal capacity of local governments, probably because they don’t follow criteria , neither economics, as the ICMS, nor redistributive, as FPM. Instead, these transfers follow political criteria, as indicated by recent political science literature.

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