Political parties want to create 410 new cities

If politicians can’t get rich on creating more states, why not create more cities? As one Globo commenter says, “Os Municípios são os oásis da corrupção no País.”

Seventeen years after a constitutional amendment had removed the states’ power to decide about (municipal) emancipations, a companion bill, to be voted on in the House of Representatives on the 4th of June, may return atonomy to the Legislative Assemblies to create new cities. A Globo survey on the Legistlative Assemblies of the 26 states shows that if the door is opened again, the country could create up to 410 new cities, bringing the number of Brazilian cities to nearly 6,000 – today, that number is at 5,570.

Considering that municipalities with up to eight thousand inhabitants created between 2001 and 2010 – on proceedings that were  reviewed in the Supreme Court – have an annual budget of around R$20 million each, the expense of these 410 cities could reach R$8 billion a year, since there would be a redistribution of funds from the main source of financing of these towns, which is the Municipalities Participation Fund (FPM).

The National Front  for Support of the Creation of New Municipalities, which claims to have the support of 350 parliamentarians from different parties, admits that there is already a strong movement in the Assemblies to create at least 250 cities, and calculates that 180 can be expected, in fact, to be emancipated. But Congressman José Augusto Maia, author of the bill PLC 2008/416, denies that there will be a new spree along the lines of what happened before the Constitutional Amendment 1996/15, in which the emergence of new municipalities became subordinate to Congress.

– We made an overall substitute that improves, and gives a lot more rigid criteria for, the creation of new municipalities, taking into account the number of the population and the economic feasibility of each one, such as the creation of employment and income.

With the project approved, it will be up to each locality to summon the people to vote in the referendum, and decide whether they want to create the new municipality.

The FIRJAN Municipal Development Index (IFDM), launched by the Rio de Janeiro Federation of Industries, composed of information from the Ministries of Labor, Education and Health, showed that, in 58 municipalities created between 2001 and 2010, there were 31,000 new governmental positions opened, and a flow of federal funds that totaled R$1.3 billion in the last five years in transfers from the Municipalities Participation Fund (FPM).

All this investment, however, was not reverted in improving social indicators for most of these cities. According to IFDM, and published by Globo last January, 45% of 58 emancipated municipalities reported a worsening performance over the last decade.

– The creation of new cities depends on costs, yes. Creating new municipalities does not necessarily mean new revenue. It will subtract from existing resources, and be distributed between these administrations. That is, the division will be greater – said the manager of economic studies of FIRJAN, William Ransom. – To solve this, the Union has to increase the transfers and, therefore, will have to have tax increases. I am in favor of there being better technical criteria in the creation of these municipalities, and not like the process that we have seen in the past.

Projects will be filtered, says Congressman

Asked if the creation of new municipalities may cost the taxpayer, in terms of a property tax increase (IPTU) and the Service Tax (ISS), for example, Maia says the criteria for the projects are clear and that only municipalities that meet strict rules will move forward. The creation of expenses may also make the attending of the population with basic, quality services more difficult.

– The state departments of economic development will be responsible for an economic feasibility study which depends on revenue collection specific to each municipality. Those who do not meet the requirements will be out. There will be no spree – Maia assured.

But for Congressman Chico Alencar, the spree for the creation of municipalities will once more become law if the bill is passed. He criticizes the conduct of the bill in the House.

– The urgency of the project has a clear intention to favor the election next year. The halls of Congress were taken over by likely candidates of these new municipalities. We are not against the creation of new administrative units, but you need to have a larger discussion on the subject. We want clearer rules – said Chico Alencar.

The President of the Confederation of Municipalities, Paulo Ziulkoski, praises the idea, but sees risks:

– The approval of the law is important. The best indicators of Brazil are in small municipalities. The creation of new cities in recent years has contributed to this. Brazil has room for the creation of these new units, mostly in the far North. The problem is that these new municipalities can not be created with state structure, ie, with hundreds of departments, and high expenses.

To professor Luiz Roque Kleringer, an expert in public administration at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, emancipation improves the residents’ quality of life, especially in small towns. – Source (PT)

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