Government spokesperson, Marc Pons, and finance minister, Catalina Cladera.

29-10-2015Jaume Morey

Catalonia, taxes (of a different variety for once) and golf. These were some of the themes from last week in The Bulletin.

Over in Catalonia
What happens in Catalonia may not have a direct impact on Majorca, but history makes it a hot topic on the island. Tuesday's front page spoke of the vote taken by the Catalonian government to start the process of secession, the prime minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, responding by saying that "many Spaniards have had a bellyful" of the undermining of the nation's legitimate institutions and of the constitution. By Thursday, Rajoy was seeking to block the drive towards independence through the Constitutional Court in "defending a whole country", i.e. Spain. The following day, Andrew Ede observed that, far from this being a "romantic drive towards independence", it was one of Artur Mas's making, the Catalonian president having "dug a hole from which he cannot exit" in having sought to divert attention from corruption allegations and to bolster his own political power, while Rajoy had to assume some of the blame for having given a "flat refusal to renegotiate Catalonia's financing".


Tax and more tax
While the tourist tax affair rumbled on, Podemos - as reported on Tuesday - berating Majorca's hoteliers for having acted against Balearic interests by criticising the regional government at London's World Travel Market, there were other tax matters to fan the flames. Wednesday's edition covered a debate in parliament in which President Armengol said that "taxing higher earners needed to be done". The next day, some flesh was put onto the bones of what had previously been revealed - that income tax would go up for those earning 70,000 euros or more and that there would be an adjustment to wealth tax - and the flesh was not as had been anticipated. The government's finance minister, Catalina Cladera, explained that the law for the budget allowed for an apparently "unusual arrangement" whereby tax amendments could be introduced either this year or next. Consequently, the tax increases are to come in from 31 December, while other measures will take effect from 1 January. The upshot of this is that "the next tax declarations (in 2016) will have to include the current year", a backdating in other words.


Palma - Mediterranean tourism capital
The future is looking increasingly bright for Palma in the city's ambitions to become a 365-days-a-year tourist destination. On Tuesday, we carried a lengthy report on the presentation of survey findings which indicated that Palma was now "in vogue" with high tourist satisfaction levels and almost 100% willingness to recommend the city and to be repeat visitors. The mayor of Palma, José Hila, spoke of his desire for Palma to become the "Mediterranean capital of tourism". This message was echoed yesterday when we looked at a presentation that Palma 365, the town hall and regional government had given at Madrid's massive Pangea travel store. Different tourist products are being promoted, such as "Patron of the City", one for Saint Sebastian and the January fiestas. (Not before time, many of you might be thinking.)

All this bright news was, however, dimmed somewhat by news of increases in car parking charges and by the ongoing row over the terraces along the Born avenue. Yesterday's report revealed that bar owners and town hall are still poles apart on the issue, though they are hoping that a meeting next week might result in a satisfactory agreement.  


Golf and winter tourism
Last Sunday's edition carried several pages of report and photos for the first Majorca Daily Bulletin Golf Cup, which was staged the previous day at the Golf de Andratx in Camp de Mar. The overall winners were Holger Dieckmann and Josef Wandling of what proved to be a highly successful event that benefited from glorious Indian summer weather, something which prompted Humphrey Carter to suggest that here was "a winter tourism example": a perfect example of "why the season has to be extended".

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