The tourist tax is to be approved by parliament tomorrow (Tuesday). The 34 deputies from PSOE, Més and Podemos will give the sustainable tourism tax law the support it needs to enter into the statute book. It is not expected that there will be any further disagreements between the government partners that might delay the approval, even if certain members of the house would still like revenue from the tax to go towards social purposes, such as old people's residences: Podemos has vetoed this.
The Partido Popular, which joined Podemos in opposing the social uses at last week's parliamentary finance committee, was today expressing its disappointment with the government ahead of today's vote. Its spokesperson, Marga Prohens, regretted the fact that the doors of the government had been closed to proposals which the PP believed would have improved the tax.
Prohens stressed that the PP has been "serious and responsible" in seeking to reach agreements with the government on the tax. These had not proved to be possible, leading her to describe the tax as "discriminatory and unjust". The government had not accepted any partial amendments to the legislation proposed by the PP. One of these had been for the introduction of the tax to be delayed until January 2017. Tourism spokesperson, Alvaro Gijón, had argued the case for this on account of the disagreements between the government parties and Podemos in respect of how the revenue is to be spent, who will decide how it is spent and how the individual islands will benefit from the revenue.
Prohens was also critical of the role of President Armengol during the recent travel fairs in Madrid and Berlin. Rather than going to these fairs in order to "sell our tourism product", she had spoken about energy poverty and families being unable to make ends meet. Subjects such as these, suggested Prohens, were not suitable for travel and tourism fairs, which should be events to promote the Balearics as an international tourist destination.
The PP spokesperson also attacked the president and other members of the government for constantly giving out negative messages about the Balearics, such as with their comments on potential water shortages and there being too many tourists.
Tourism minister Biel Barceló, meanwhile, was saying today that he was highly satisfied with the final outcome of the text for the tax law. It will give priority to the environment and this has been achieved through high levels of consensus.
Revenue from the tax this year is expected to be around 50 million euros (it will rise to 80 million in a full year). As has previously been announced, the daily rates, depending on type of accommodation, will range from 50 cents to two euros in the summer season with 50% reductions in the off-season and after the tenth day of a stay. Exemptions for tax include under-16s.
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