Staff Reporter
FORMER Balearic leader Francesc Antich claimed that changing the destiny of tourist tax funds would be like fraud, cheating those who had paid the unpopular levy but this situation could arise if the government persists in its current policy of cutting back on the planned investments. Antich, now leader of the opposition and secretary of the PSIB (Balearic Socialist Party) criticised the government's plans to switch funds for six projects set to be financed by the tourist tax to a plan for controlling the processionary plague which is killing off the island's pine trees. Although he was in favour of the plan against the plague, he said it should be financed by the environment ministry's budget, not from the tourist tax. He was speaking after a meeting with local party officials in Majorca including Francina Armengol, deputy and former tourism chief Celestí Alomar and socialist representatives of Alcudia, Artà and Santanyi, three of the municipalities affected by the cancelled plans. The projects which have been dropped were the restoration of Can Un quarry, preservation of the natural area of Maristany, a museum at Mondragon, Ses Alqueries, a building in Ses Salines and a specific programme for Ses Salines in Ibiza. Antich pointed out that this measure means that these projects, which were to be paid for by tourists, will now be paid for by local taxpayers, because the government must either provide funds or leave the projects in the hands of town councils. He claimed that this situation arose because after repealing the tax, the government has no “clear alternative” to raise funds for the projects.
He also said that other projects would be in danger if the government rejected voluntary contributions to the environmental fund and did not receive State aid.

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