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DAVIES, Nicholas. The fragile reliability of the audit office of Santa Catarina state in inspecting education financing: the State government failed to invest over R$ 2,1 billion in education from 1998 to 2008, yet the Audit Office approved the State budgets. Perspectiva [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.01, pp.193-226. ISSN 0102-5473.

This study examined procedures used by the Audit Office of Santa Catarina State in Brazil to evaluate revenue and expenditures earmarked for education, on the basis of its reports on state government accounts from 1998 to 2008. Positive results of the research include (a) identification of the illegality and unconstitutionality of the state government’s reduction in taxes earmarked for health and education and (b) a finding of non-compliance with a number of constitutional and legal requirements. In addition, the following negative points are emphasized: (a) the probable confusion between expenses defined as educational in budget law Nº. 4,320 and expenses defined as maintenance and development of education (MDE) in General Education Law (LDB) Nº. 9,394, (b) the acceptance of allowing different government agencies to declare educational expenses contrary to the LDB, (c) oscillations in criteria used to define expenses, (d) lack of a firm position on the inclusion of retired education personnel in the calculation of legal expenses on MDE, adopting 2 procedures (one including and the other excluding this personnel). However, the Audit Office’s major weakness is the fact that, despite having found that the State government has not invested the minimum percentage of taxes (25%) legally allotted to education, or the 15% of taxes that should be spent on the 8 years of compulsory elementary education, it has not issued an opinion against the approval of the State accounts, limiting itself to comments and recommendations, which were almost never complied with by the State government. This leads us to question the usefulness of the Audit Office.

Keywords : Education Funding; Audit Office; Santa Catarina State Brazil.

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