Palma.—The Balearic government will have a budget of 3'574 million euros for next year, 2.7 percent less than this year.
But, while the decline may appear rather small, 22.4 percent of that money is going to be spent on clearing the public deficit, so in reality, once the debt, or a large part of it has been cleared, the government will have nearly a quarter less money than this year.

However, the government hopes to offset any losses to paying off the public deficit by introducing four new environmental taxes on super stores, the car hire industry, water consumption and nonreturnable beverage containers.

The budget was presented yesterday by the Balearic Vice-president and Minister for the Economy, Josep Ignasi Aguilo.
He said that the current forecast is that the Balearic economy will grow by 0.3 percent over the course of next year, the opposite to the predicted 1.3 percent contraction of the country's economy.

The Minister explained that the driving force behind that growth is going to be the service sector which should enjoy a 0.8 percent increase in trade. But, the construction sector is expected to continue to struggle with another downturn in business of around 4.8 percent while the industrial sector will also contract by 0.5 percent.

The agricultural and fishing sectors will however enjoy a .02 percent upturn. “We are obviously still in the midst of a national and international recession, hence why we have drawn up a tough but sensible budget,” the Minister explained. “With the cost of borrowing currently extremely high, we've got to use some of the budget to clear the deficit,” he added.
And, despite the Balearics having recently asked central government for a bailout, 805 million euros of the budget is still going to have to be spent on clearing the region's debts.

As expected, the opposition parties are not impressed and the government was yesterday accused of “causing more pain and suffering” for the general public.

The Socialists, while claiming to understand why the budget had to be tough, reminded the government that Madrid still owes the Balearics 1'000 million euros and if Palma had the stomach for a fight with Madrid in an attempt to get that money finally paid in to local coffers, the region's financial and economic situation would be much better.

The biggest benefactor of the budget is going to be the Ministry for Health, Family Welfare and Social Services which will receive 1.259 million euros, just over three percent less than this year.

Education, Culture and Universities will receive 743 million euros, again, just over three percent less.
Business Promotion and Employment will see its funding cut by nearly 19 percent, which has angered the unions with unemployment continuing to hit record high in the Balearics, while the Tourism and Sport, which has done nothing this year, will see its budget increased by nine percent to 69 million euros. So perhaps, the Tourism Ministry can finally get to work next year.