“We don't want to tax our European friends,” said the Palma City Councillor for Tourism, Joan Bauza yesterday, as he explained to the Bulletinexactly why Palma City Council has voted in favour of rejecting the Balearic government's proposed tourist tax. The council voted in favour of the motion tabled by the Partido Popular at last week's council meeting and also voted in favour of a second motion proposing that the Balearic government lobby Madrid for the money needed to protect and manage the local environment. Bauza said that the basic flaw in the government's tax is that 30 percent of tourists to the Balearics will not pay the levy and thus the tourist tax is discriminatory and goes against the Maastricht Treaty, which favours the free movement of European Union citizens within the community. “We don't want to tax our European neighbours,” Bauza said and slammed the government's idea as “ridiculous.” “If the government is short of money, then it should negotiate with Madrid,” he said. Bauza pointed out that over the past year, since the tax idea was mentioned by accident during a visit by the local Minister for Tourism Celesti Alomar to Minorca, all sections of society, politics and business have discussed and considered the tax and the majority oppose the levy. However, Palma City Council is also angry that the government has failed to properly inform the general public about what the tax involves and that the local authority has not been involved in the process. “Palma, which is the region's tourist capital and a tourist destination for people from all over the world, cannot be ignored when ideas such as the tourist tax are being discussed - but the government has failed to ask us to participate.” Palma City Council agrees that the region cannot handle any further growth in the tourist industry and that extra money is needed to secure that beaches and the sea are protected and kept clean and that the regional environment is looked after as best as possible.