Balearics paying more than they actually receive

The Balearics showed a tax shortfall of 150'230 million pesetas last year, according to figures released yesterday by Joan Mesquida, the local finance minister. He said that this figure was inadmissable. Mesquida was speaking after the meeting of the parliamentary committee which studies the fiscal balance of the islands. The figure is the equivalent of the region's budget for the entire year. In 1999 the shortfall was 137'000 million pesetas. Mesquida explained yesterday that the specific weight of the deficit with respect to the Gross Domestic Product of the Islands is seven per cent, when in similar European communities it is only three or four per cent. This, he said, was an “injustice” to Balearic residents, which should be compensated in the Special Regime (for financing autonomous communities). He called on Maria Salom, a deputy for the conservative Popular Party (PP) to press for the application of the Special Regime law which is not being followed. He pointed out that the PP had promoted the Special Regime and added that demand for it to be applied should be unanimous. But the minister was pessimistic when asked if he thought the new model of financing the autonomous communities would compensate for the shortfall. He said that it could improve the situation, but added that he wanted to be realistic and thought that it would not compensate the entire amount. He went on to say that the central government is taking more and spending less, and the Special Regime should serve to compensate this. He criticised the central government for not having started negotiations for the new system of financing the regions.


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