MEXICALI.- "It ain't over til it's over" seems to be the mantra that some Baja California state representatives in both the State Congress and Mexico's Federal Congress are holding on to. They are still trying to find a way to reduce the border region's value added tax (or IVA in Spanish) from 16% to 11%, back to its original rate prior to this year's fiscal reform that was intentended to "level the playing field" of the border states with the rest of the country.
Last Thursday, a proposal being pushed by PAN party representatives was put to a vote and received 15 votes in favor and 7 abstentions. Members of PAN, PRD (the progressive party), and other smaller parties were in favor of the measure and those that abstained from voting were mainly members of the PRI party. This mirrors similar voting divisions during the initial fiscal reform vote in Congress,which at its time brought widespread scorn from citizens.
This was the first time that local congress has sent an initiave to modify a federal fiscal law and now it is up to the Federal Congress to vote in favor of implementing or not implementing the decision.
Gustavo Sanchez Vasquez, coordinator of PAN in State Congress stated that "It is established by law that a local Congress can present an initiative in Federal Congress, and that is what we have done, thus proving that -contrary to what some politicians say- we have no power in the matter". This comment was made in response to PRI politicians' comments that local congressman have no power to change a federal fiscal law.
Some state representatives at a federal level are awaiting the initiative so that they may debate it and put it to a vote. Such is the case of Juan Manuel Gastelum, deputy of the Fifth District, who was frustrated by the attitude primarily of PRI representatives, and indicated that they have no idea the harm that the 16% IVA has caused to this region. "The day they have to pay taxes, invest their own money and pay taxes, then maybe they will complain and understand what they are doing."