Palma.—The regional government, in response to Tuesday's meeting with the
Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro, yesterday rolled out yet another series of tax hikes and spending cuts which are aimed to reduce the region's deficit to 1.5 percent of its PIB, gross national product, by the end of the year.

However, the austerity plan has not gone down well with most sectors of the community.
The biggest shock is that petrol, as part of the so-called “health cent” which the Balearics government was opposed to, is going to go up by 4.8 cents per litre.

The hike, however, neither applies to diesel, taxi drivers nor truck and coach drivers, only the general public and the self employed and, it appears that more cuts are in store with the government promising to publish the full package of measures within the next few weeks.

Not only does the local government have to plug a 350 million euro black hole, it also intends to save 285 million euros this year by further reductions in public spending.

Other tax hikes will be levied on high contaminating vehicles such as quad bikes and jet skis and inheritance tax is also going to be risen as of April 1.

However, the over 65s, disabled or large families, will be entitled to a 15 percent reduction in their income tax if they take out private health insurance in order to ease the burden on the already cash-strapped and struggling Balearic Ib-Salut health service.

That was the only good news for the average working person.
The Balearic Finance Minister, Josep Aguilo, said that the measures will not affect people's savings nor the creation of jobs, in fact he claims that the new measures will have the opposite effect.

The ruling Partido Popular this week won support for 10 billion euros of spending cuts that the regions, including the Balearics, must make and that will likely bite into health and education services.

Montoro said the regions' commitment to deficit targets was key for Spain to move towards recovery.
The regions account for close to half of all public spending - the biggest parts of their budgets go on health and education - and almost all of them greatly overshot their spending targets last year.


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