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Fiscal Reform for a Stronger Fairer and Cleaner Mexican Economy

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  • Nicola Brandt
  • Rodrigo Paillacar

Abstract

With slow growth and high inequality Mexico needs investments in infrastructure, education and social policies. Mexico has increased spending in all of these areas. This was easily financed thanks to fiscal reforms in 2007 and 2009 as well as high oil prices in recent years. Oil revenues, which account for around one third of budgetary receipts, are highly volatile, especially due to price movements, and the prospects for production are uncertain, even though less so than in previous years. Mexico has the lowest tax revenues as a share of GDP in the OECD and much of Latin America, even when oil-related revenues are included. The government should improve the efficiency of its public spending. Mexico spends significant sums on energy subsidies, which are in large part captured by higher-income groups. Moreover, these subsidies are not in line with Mexico’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These subsidies should be gradually withdrawn in line with the government’s goals. Extending cash benefits to the poor instead would be much more efficient to fight poverty and help citizens and the economy as a whole to buffer income shocks. Agricultural spending should be re-structured to finance more investment in public goods and less support for producers, which has proven ineffective in increasing agricultural productivity. Broadening the tax base by withdrawing some of the most distortive tax expenditures would make an important contribution to strengthen revenues. This would also help make the tax system simpler, thus reducing compliance costs as well as opportunities for tax avoidance and evasion. Efforts to enhance tax enforcement should continue. Une réforme des finances publiques pour une économie mexicaine plus forte, plus juste et plus saine With slow growth and high inequality Mexico needs investments in infrastructure, education and social policies. Mexico has increased spending in all of these areas. This was easily financed thanks to fiscal reforms in 2007 and 2009 as well as high oil prices in recent years. Oil revenues, which account for around one third of budgetary receipts, are highly volatile, especially due to price movements, and the prospects for production are uncertain, even though less so than in previous years. Mexico has the lowest tax revenues as a share of GDP in the OECD and much of Latin America, even when oil-related revenues are included. The government should improve the efficiency of its public spending. Mexico spends significant sums on energy subsidies, which are in large part captured by higher-income groups. Moreover, these subsidies are not in line with Mexico’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These subsidies should be gradually withdrawn in line with the government’s goals. Extending cash benefits to the poor instead would be much more efficient to fight poverty and help citizens and the economy as a whole to buffer income shocks. Agricultural spending should be re-structured to finance more investment in public goods and less support for producers, which has proven ineffective in increasing agricultural productivity. Broadening the tax base by withdrawing some of the most distortive tax expenditures would make an important contribution to strengthen revenues. This would also help make the tax system simpler, thus reducing compliance costs as well as opportunities for tax avoidance and evasion. Efforts to enhance tax enforcement should continue.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kg271q4vm34-en
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 904.

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Date of creation: 14 Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:904-en

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Keywords: taxation; public spending; energy subsidies; subvention énergétiques; fiscalité; dépenses publiques;

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