Governor João Doria of São Paulo announced a 20-percent raise this afternoon for the state’s police agents and health workers. Wages of other civil servants will go up by 10 percent. The decision will be enforced in March and also affects retired workers, benefiting over 541,000 people and costing around BRL 6 billion (USD 1.5 billion) to the public purse.
The wage bumps come as Mr. Doria tries to improve his electoral stock ahead of the October presidential election. Despite his high-profile persona, he still polls in the low single digits. Brazilian electoral legislation forbids incumbents from raising salaries in the six months prior to Election Day.
The move is also a way for the governor to one-up President Jair Bolsonaro, with whom he is locked in a war of attrition. Late last year, Mr. Bolsonaro promised to raise the salaries of all civil servants — with Federal Police agents ahead in the line. The pledge was seen as an attempt by the president to co-opt and instrumentalize police forces.