Argentina's Supreme Court is under alert after the 2023 Budget Bill sent to Congress includes a provision whereby Judiciary magistrates and clerks would pay income taxes, from which they are exempted on arguable Constitutional grounds.
The move is regarded as an interference of the Executive into the Judiciary, it was reported. It would also be in line with initiatives among Frente de Todos lawmakers to reform the Supreme Court and enlarge it to 15 members from the current 5, although there is one vacancy.
The judges also noted that changes to the retirement system have caused multiple resignations. Some judges critical of the Government argue that this change sought to generate an exodus of magistrates in order to fill those spaces with people of their own liking.
According to courthouse sources, the passing of the bill will be immediately judicialized. But since all judges are equally affected, surrogate magistrates would need to be appointed.
Also rejecting the initiative was the Association of Judges and Officials of the National Justice which opposes judges, prosecutors, and Judiciary officials paying income tax, just like any other high-income worker. The association said in a statement that it was against a clause that intends -once again- to violate the constitutional clause that protects the salaries of the Judiciary and the Public Ministries.
The Constitution provides for the intangibility of magistrates' salaries, but judges being exempted from taxes stems from a Supreme Court decision.
The Association of Federal Judges (Ajufe) pointed out that the project generates rejection and concern because it affects the salaries of judges all over the country.”