THE central government owes 6'878 euros for every resident in the Balearics, while the Balearic government owes 1'413 euros, according to a repport from the Bank of Spain, which puts the accumulated debt for both governments for this year at 8'291 euros per head. The Balearic government's debt is by no means the highest in Spain: the Madrid regional government owes 1'664 euros per head, Catalonia 2'028 euros and Valencia 2'194 euros, the report said. The Balearic debt is six per cent of the Gross Regional Product, the same as in Madrid, while in Catalonia, it rises to eight per cent and in Valencia it represents 11.40 per cent of the Gross Regional Product. The Balearic government debt has grown spectacularly over the past few years, mainly because of the need to finance road works.
When Jaume Matas won the elections in 2003, the debt was 868 million euros, of which 490 million euros corresponded to the period of the coalition government. But by the end of this year, according to a report drawn up by the government itself, the debt will be in the region of 1'000 million euros. If the central ministry of public works had paid the amounts due under the roads agreement, the government would have had an additional 460 million euros, a situation which has led to fierce debate between the Balearic government and the opposition. During the recent budget debate, Balearic finance minister Lluis Ramis de Ayreflor claimed that the economic situation of the Balearics was “moderately good.” And when criticised by the opposition for the enormous increase in debt, he replied, “if the debt is scandalous, it is due to lack of State investment.” According to the opposition, the Balearic government debt is 1'400 million euros, although Ramis de Ayreflor puts it at 993 million euros.

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