By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A giant, inflatable twelve-meter yellow duck appeared on the lawn of Brazil’s National Congress Thursday morning as a protest against the increase and creation of new taxes proposed by the government of Dilma Rousseff.
The campaign, “Não vou pagar o pato” (loosely translated as “I will not pay the bill”), was started by the Federation of Industries of São Paulo (FIESP) to show officials that the increase in taxes is not the way to pull Brazil out of its current economic crisis.
“We’ve seen this picture before,” says, FIESP president Paulo Skaf on a website created to garner signatures against the increase and the creation of more taxes. “Every time the government need to cover its costs instead of reducing expenses, it thinks its easier to pass the bill forward. Guess who pays the bill?”
According to Skaff, to increase taxes and revival of the CPMF tax (tax over financial transactions) will force companies to reduce jobs. The executive says that the situation then becomes a vicious circle, with high unemployment leading to lower household consumption, which in turn leads to smaller revenues for companies, which in the near future will have to layoff even more workers.
The executive says the objective of the humorous campaign is to show that the private sector is in favor of a fiscal adjustment, but through the reduction of expenditures, and the decrease of wasted and ill invested revenues, not through the increase of taxes.
“If [raising taxes] was the solution to Brazil’s problems then Brazil wouldn’t have a problem because tax revenues this year will be close to R$2 trillion,” Skaf was quoted as saying by Agencia Brasil. “The problem with Brazil is the Brazilian government, it is the size of the Brazilian government, the lack of efficiency,” added FIESP’s president.
Data from FIESP shows that sixty percent of the price of gasoline, 48 percent of electricity bills and 33 percent of public transportation tariffs consumers pay today is just tax.
Skaf encourages the population to show its discontentment by signing a petition that will be sent to Congress, “Either you remain there complaining about the government and thinking to yourself ‘this is just the way life is’ or you do something about it.”
The website had received by Friday morning more than half a million persons had signed the petition. Organizers hope to receive more than one million votes and send Congressional representatives a message that the population is not happy and will not accept the actions taken by the Administration without a fight. The campaign, created by FIESP, is backed up by more than 160 companies from all sectors of Brazil’s economy.
Last week Brazil’s Congress started to deliberate an amendment to the Constitution that would authorize the government to revive a 0.20 percent tax over all financial transactions (CPMF). According to Rousseff’s economic team, the revival of the CPMF was necessary to fund the country’s social security system.