By RICARDO CASTILLO
The verbal brawl between 10 protesting state governors who ganged up against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) regarding “the fiscal pact” continues as the Senate approved on Wednesday, Nov. 28, the preliminary proposal for the nation’s 2021 federal budget.
In Pulse News Mexico, we reported that a group of rebellious governors threatened secession. We did not misquote the plaintiffs, who later came out to clarify that they actually did not mean “secession” or separating from the national integrity. Rather, they meant breaking away from “the fiscal pact” established between the states and the federation that has to do with the reimbursement the federal government makes of the taxes it receives from each state.
This forced Treasury Secretary Arturo Herrera to release a list of the amounts allotted to each of the states as stipulated in the 2020 yearly budget, adding that some, given the current covid-19 pandemic, have received more than budgeted.
AMLO went on to explain some of the disgruntled governors “are posturing to break up the federal pact.”
“This has nothing to do with me, but with the Constitution,” he said.
“The budget is not distributed whimsically. I explained that there is no political manipulation involved.”
Of course, the explanation was not only too little but also a little bit late since the governors were already carrying out “polls,” asking their constituents to raise their hands if they agreed with the idea of breaking with the federal government.
Most notorious among the rebellious governors was Jalisco’s
, who is now working on his potential 2024 candidacy for president. Bashing AMLO is part of his show to tell the people of Jalisco that López Obrador is shortchanging them.
AMLO defended himself against the mocking attacks of Alfaro, who said, “As we oppose the president, we do not receive our corresponding share.”
AMLO responded: “We are acting within the framework of the law and respect for the Constitution. I can say to the citizens of Jalisco that we owe nothing to their government, that we have delivered with punctuality the state’s budget allocations.”
This, AMLO added, has nothing to do with “the differences” he has with Alfaro.
“The changes that (Alfaro) and the other governors are calling for would require a constitutional reform,” AMLO said.
The discussion spread out into the Senate on Wednesday, Oct. 29, as the Treasury Committee approved the 2021 budget for the federation, with a vote of nine for and six against.
The senators from the states of Nuevo León and Coahuila came out fuming from the session. Both represent states with governors who are members of the rebellious Federal Alliance.
Nuevo León Citizen’s Movement (MC) Senator Samuel García Sepúlveda said he voted against the budget. “They are cutting off 12 percent from the Nuevo León allotted income. If I were to vote for that budget, I would be lynched in Monterrey the moment I set foot at the airport. We’re talking 10 billion pesos.”
Coahuila Senator Verónica Martínez García of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said she agreed, pointing out that her state will receive approximately 6 to 8 percent of its input, “which I consider totally unfair.”
Senator José Luis Pech of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena), who voted for the projected budget, explained: “The economic problems caused by the pandemic has affected the growth and development of all states,” hence the drastic budget cuts.
Outspoken National Action Party (PAN) Senator Gustavo Madero – a hopeful for the PAN candidacy for governor of Chihuahua in the 2021 midterm election – shot yet another volley against the AMLO, saying the approved budget “represents the regressive, authoritarian tax measures and is a recognition of the failure of public finances and the urgency, the desperation to increase tax collection.”
Now the new budget moves on to the Chamber of Deputies, which should have it approved by Nov. 15.
You can expect a lot of media on this issue for next month, with the opposition to the Morena governors cranking up their noisemakers.
…Oct. 30, 2020