Attention was drawn in Sunday's Week That Was column in the Bulletin to the suggestion that between four to six million euros of revenue from the tourist tax should be devoted to the building of care homes for the elderly. A question posed was why should it, given that care homes would seem to have little to do with tourism.
The proposal appears to principally be one that is coming from Més: the party controls both the tourism and the social services ministries. A Balearic parliamentary deputy from Més, Toni Reus, has reiterated the party's view that one of the purposes of the "sustainable tourism tax" is social, and that this would therefore include creating places at residences for senior citizens. Reus acknowledged today, however, that gaining agreement on this would be complicated because of the opposition to the proposal from Podemos.
Reus said that there is currently a waiting list of 800 people to enter public residences on the islands, suggesting that this is, in part, because of low wages in the tourism sector and low pensions that the sector provides. These factors, therefore, increase the need for more places to be made available.
The issue is to be raised in parliament tomorrow, Reus adding that it will be studied by the parliamentary committee with the intention that the proposal should be approved on 22 March, which would allow investment in residences to be made during the period of the current administration (until 2019).
Podemos leader Alberto Jarabo said last week that the Balearics should have the finest care homes in the country but his party is fundamentally opposed to the proposal for tourist tax revenue use because it does not consider it to be in line with the "purposes" that are outlined in the draft legislation for the tax. Indeed, the proposal took many by surprise last week, as it hadn't previously been made public.
Jarabo has a further reason for opposing the proposal, and this has to do with the funding for the university's medical faculty. Podemos is also against this as the funding was not in the 2016 budget. Nor does the party believe that it is a priority. The view that Podemos has expressed to the government is that it should choose between the medical faculty and the residences and not touch tourist tax revenue.
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