by Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE Balearic government presented its budgets for 2008 to Parliament yesterday, and at 3'323 million euros, they are 15 per cent higher than this year, with an increase in investment of nearly 26 per cent per inhabitant.

Carles Manera, the minister of finance, made the presentation yesterday. The budgets will now be debated in Parliament and are expected to be approved on December 19.

Manera added that investment per capita next year will be 709 euros, 25.78 per cent more than this year. It comes to a total amount of 732.2 million euros, he explained.

To this must be added State investment which, in comparison with the past seven years will increase by 80 per cent due to the 2'800 million euros which the islands will receive between 2008 and 2014 (300 million euros in 2008).

Manera also said there would be fiscal benefits, and more than 32'500 taxpayers will benefit from changes in the inheritance tax, where the minimum exemption will rise to 120'000 euros, and up to 150'000 to 300'000 euros in the case of people with disabilities.

The minister said that the budget had been “devised with people in mind,” giving a boost to what he called “the silent infrastructures which improve the daily life of people.” He pointed out that the ministries of health and education are those which have the biggest slice of the budget, both ministries accounting for 60 per cent of the total.

The health ministry will have a budget of 1'194 million euros (10 per cent more), and education, 801.8 million euros (up by 15 per cent).
The Balearic government will also be paying special attention to the environment, which has the third largest budget at 101 million euros (19.5 per cent). But the biggest percentage increase has been in the budget for the ministry of housing, which rose by 102 per cent to 76 million euros.

After the presentation, Rosa Estaras, leader of the Partido Popular (PP) in the Balearics said that the general interest of the budgets had been “subordinated to the interests of the six parties in the coalition government.” She claimed that there had been “internal fights” to approve the accounts.

She added that it was difficult for the budgets to correspond to the general interest if they had caused internal struggles between the parties involved.

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