The last three months have been a period of significant changes in tax matters in Colombia. Specifically, the Financing Law, enacted in late 2018, and the National Development Plan (NDP) project "Pacto por Colombia, pacto por la equidad" reflect the pressing need of increasing the income and reducing the expenditures, posing a risk for central issues such as the funds promised to the education sector or the continuation of the process for the reinsertion of demobilized armed groups--such as FARC--to the civil life. In fact, the Financing Law is expected to collect approximately cop 7.5 trillion (Ahumada, December 23, 2018), half of the initial goal. Therefore, meeting the tax ruling depends in large part of the government's success in reducing the spending pressure.
This situation becomes clear when reviewing some of the measures proposed in the NDP project the Government presented last February, which, among others, includes an increase from 40 to 55% in the social security contribution basis for independent workers, an "update" to the Sisben system in order to better define the group of citizens who "deserve" to be beneficiaries of the State social program, and a reduction to the electric power subsidies received by households in strata 1, 2 and 3. Thus, the use of the word "equity" in the title of the NDP does not seem the most appropriate.
Paradoxically, facing the urgent need to reduce the fiscal deficit, some measures implying an unnecessary loss of revenue have been implemented during this period. For example, the reduction in the income tax fee for mega investments so that large companies have a lower burden than other companies, which makes sense, and includes the risk of extending the benefit through legal stability contracts (a figure that was revived). This in addition to the benefits created for some sectors, such as agriculture, usually operated by large landowners, or the promotion of the orange economy.
The Government has presented these measures as part of a strategy to encourage investment and reactivate growth, even when the literature on the matter is not conclusive on the taxes-investment relationship, and mentions that the latter is mainly attracted by other factors, such as the economic and political stability, or the availability of qualified labor (Jimenez & Podesta, 2016). Besides, the introduction of inequitable treatment--as those described above--in a tax system may have adverse effects on the tax morale of the citizens, increasing tax evasion, with the consequent reduction in collection (Castaneda, 2018).
On the other hand, the contributions to the National Learning Service (SENA, in Spanish), the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF, also in Spanish), and the Healthcare Social Security made by the employers continue to be reduced, as the creation of regimes such as the SIMPLE (1) scheme reduces said funding by providing that those who choose this regime will not be obliged to make these kind payments. This implies that the central government will finance the budget of these entities, as well as a part of the 9% of the general income tax rate, with the corresponding deficit pressure it entails. This, of course, justifies the ongoing work to amend systems, as in the case of the pension fund system, to alleviate the amount of public spending, which will surely be one of the main tasks of the government for next year. In conclusion, the fiscal landscape is full of questions, which cause uncertainty regarding the actual possibilities of promoting an increase in coverage and quality for sectors such as education and healthcare.
Regarding issue 72 of INNOVAR journal, we are pleased to introduce ten contributions organized in three sections, which we expect will be of interest to our readers. The first and second sections, that is, Strategy and Organizations and Competitiveness and Management, comprise three research papers each. In addition, Research and Teaching Contributions section includes four papers on this occasion.
Strategy and Organizations section first presents the article "Implementation of a Holistic Corporate Social Responsibility Method with a Regional Scope", authored by Professors Diana Nino-Munoz, Javier Galan-Barrera and Pablo Alamo, from Sergio Arboleda University (Colombia). This research explains the implementation of a holistic solution that seeks to promote general welfare by considering all the activities and objectives of Sergio Arboleda University, particularly those related to its corporate social responsibility. According to the results of this study, the proposed methodology is useful to identify the opportunities of a private education institution with a regional focus, such as the university under study, in promoting the fulfillment of the human development objectives.
Additionally, Professor Juan Felipe Mejia-Giraldo, affiliated to Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Medellin, Colombia), presents the research paper "Organizational Purposes as an Alternative for Solving Problems Established by Canvas and Lean Canvas Models". This study is based on the development models of canvas and lean canvas business plans, as well as the importance they allocate to the concept of problem as a fundamental reason for a company, to later discuss the difficulties involved in not considering the social purposes and responsibilities of an organization beyond the generation of profit. Consequently, this paper suggests establishing organizational purposes instead of problems as the starting point for businesses, which requires considering their social and environmental implications, for example, in order to achieve, among others, a reciprocal and lasting commitment between the company and its customers and collaborators.
The first international contribution to this section is the paper "Statistical Analysis of Absorptive Capacities in Mexico and their Influence on the Generation of Technological Knowledge", written by Professors Carla Carolina Perez Hernandez, Jessica Moheno Mendoza and Blanca Cecilia Salazar Hernandez, from the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo (Mexico). This quantitative work studies the macroeconomic factors that affect the generation...