The Balearic opposition Partido Popular party yesterday vowed to scrap the tax if it wins next year's elections and returns to power in the region. Parliamentary speaker for the PP, former Balearic Minister for Tourism José María González Ortea, yesterday repeated his party's pledge to get rid of the tax if and when the PP returns to power. José María González Ortea (pictured) repeated his claims that the tax is “discriminatory and unfair” because only hotel and official apartment guests will pay the tax while those staying in rented villas, hostels or on recreational boats will not be charged the tax. Ortea admitted that the party had few problems with the philosophy of the tax, but pointed out that over the past three years in government, the present administration has spent 400.000 million pesetas “and badly.” While there has been a movement calling for the tax to be paid by all tourists and collected at the airports, some Balearic politicians, including the president of the Insular Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, whose Majorcan Union party is part of the Balearic coalition government, has maintained all along that the best solution would have been a much greater return of taxes paid to Madrid. She claims that such a move would provide much more money for the environmental projects that the tax will raise. Ortea accused President Antich of having done nothing over the past three years “no new roads, no new hospitals, no demolition of old buildings, nothing.” He also accused the government of having shifted the focus of the tourist tax over the past few days and starting to use the policy as an election issue. President Antich yesterday said that the political tension and the battle between the hotel sector and the government has to stop as it is neither helping the Balearics's nor helping to solve the problems facing the region and its tourist industry, emphasising the fact that at least two other regions in Spain, Cataluña and Lanzarote, are considering introducing a similar tax. However, they will be watching the Balearics with interest.

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