November 26, 2018 / 9:08 PM / 22 days ago

Brazil's outgoing president hikes judges' pay in setback for Bolsonaro

Brazil's President Michel Temer is seen before signing a trade agreement with Chile's President Sebastian (not pictured) at the government house in Santiago, Chile, November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s exiting President Michel Temer signed into law a 16 percent pay rise for Supreme Court justices on Monday, disregarding a request from his President-elect Jair Bolsonaro that he veto the bill to avoid increasing next year’s budget deficit.

The top court salaries serve as a benchmark for other public sector pay and the hike will add an estimated 4 billion reais ($1 billion) to the deficit that Bolsonaro’s economic team has promised to balance in one year.

Bolsonaro, who will inherit a gaping deficit when he takes office on Jan. 1, said earlier this month that this was “not the moment” to approve public sector pay increases.

Bolsonaro’s economic team, led by University of Chicago-trained economist Paulo Guedes, plans to make a new proposal for overhauling the costly pension system, one of the main causes of the deficit that is driving up the country’s public debt. Temer failed to get pension reform through Congress.

($1 = 3.9254 reais)

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Lisandra Paraguassú; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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