Palma.— “It's normal that people and sectors of industry who are having taxes imposed on them are complaining, because nobody likes to pay taxes,” said Josep Ignasi Aguiló at a Parliamentary session yesterday.

The Finance Minister was making specific reference to “environmental” taxes which will have to paid this coming year by hoteliers and car hire companies.

Aguiló was speaking at yesterday's Parliamentary session after having handed over the finalised regional budget for 2013 to the President of the Balearic Parliament, Pere Rotger. The Minister said that the taxes had not been imposed to “make things more difficult for hoteliers” but rather to provide funds for investment in the environment.

Aguiló said that all Parliamentary parties needed to recognise that his department was trying to balance the books of the Balearic government on two main fronts: to restrict costs in unproductive areas of public spending and to increase income for the Treasury.

Aguiló explained that income from business and property tax had decreased significantly since the start of the recession due to the bottom falling out of the property market.

The Minister furthered that the government had been forced to resort to new sources of income, “based on concepts such as the environment, sustainability and new energy.” He said that Central Government's Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism, Manuel Soria had said that taxation on car hire should be maximised whilst the national and regional governments are working to bring public administration figures back “into the black.” Aguiló said however, that the Balearics was doing “well” compared to other regions of the country because the Islands were opening up their economy to the exterior, not just through tourism, but by making it less difficult for foreign businesses to invest in the Balearics.

He said that although economic growth this year had to be revised down to -0.1%, it was much healther than the national growth figure of -1.5%.

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