THE Balearic finance minister Lluís Ramis de Ayreflor, gave a breakdown of the 2004 budget yesterday.
For yet another year, the ministries with the most substantial funding will be health, with an increase of 3.4%; and education, with an increase of 5.76%. Ramis de Ayreflor defined the budgets as “socially oriented” because the health and education ministries are receiving the greatest amount of funding.
The ministry of the president's office will still hold power in welfare policy, in spite of the transfer of routine responsibility from Balearic government level to the Council of Majorca as of January 2004. Ayreflor made a particular point of drawing attention to the environment budget. He said that “without the need to raise taxes”, the present government will continue to invest in this area, acknowledging a drop of only 0.97% in funding. Out of the 1'859 million euros total budget for 2004, ministries will receive 1'577 million; 15.7 million will go to Parliament and its subsidiary administration departments; 77.3 million to independent institutions providing services to the government; 127.6 million to territorial organisations; 47.8 million will be allocated against public debt and 13.6 million to communal services. Comparing figures with those of the previous year, there is clear evidence that there has been a significant drop in money made available to the ministry of tourism. Ramis de Ayreflor attributed this fall off to a number of factors, including the decision to stop financing property acquisition through means of the tourist tax which has now been repealed by Parliament. Ramis de Ayreflor argued that an appropriate budget for the Islands has to be one which gives free rein to “reducing unemployment” but with the establishment of a “population ceiling” based on available “territorial resources”.

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