After the Supreme Court ruled on December 21 to restore disputed federal tax revenues to Buenos Aires city in the dispute with the national government, president Alberto Fernández and Frente de Todos politicians have argued that the decision is arbitrary and unfair to the rest of the country’s jurisdictions.
In a joint statement with 14 governors, Fernández affirmed that the ruling is “incongruent” and “impossible to carry out”.
Alberto Fernández’s administration reduced Buenos Aires city’s share of the funds from 3.75% – a percentage set during Mauricio Macri’s presidency – to 2.32% in September 2020 through a decree and, some months later, to 1.4% through law 27.606, which has now been suspended.
Buenos Aires city government challenged the move in the Supreme Court, which is responsible for determining the constitutionality of judicial and political decisions. Earlier this week, the Court ruled that the federal government must increase the percentage to 2.95%.
In a joint statement released after their meeting in Casa Rosada, Alberto Fernández and fourteen of his allied governors across the country wrote: “the ruling is political, coming right before the start of a year with elections,” adding that “the Court is depriving the provinces of resources in order to give them to the Buenos Aires Mayor [Rodríguez Larreta]”. Both Alberto Fernández and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta have expressed their will to run for presidency in 2023.
Further, they said the measure is inapplicable because the budget for the next year has already been approved without taking those funds into account. As a result, the federal government and some of the provinces will seek to remove the Supreme Court justices from the case and revoke the ruling.
It was not immediately clear what legal mechanism they intended to use to remove the Justices from the case, since the Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.
The Interior Minister, Wado de Pedro, said on Thursday: “In 2019, people said ‘no’ to power concentration in the richest city of the country,” claiming that the Frente de Todos election win was a vote towards more federalism in politics. “But now, a decision made by four people is now more valuable than an entire election,” he added sarcastically, referring to Supreme Court justices.