The allocation of tourist tax revenue for 2016 has yet to be announced.

29-06-2016P. Lozano

The tourist tax will help to disguise the poor budget for the environment ministry and to compensate other ministries. This is the view of environmentalists GOB, who today called on environment minister Vicenç Vidal to accept that tourist tax revenue is a "bonus" to strengthen his department.

From their analysis of the budget, GOB believe there is evidence of a lower commitment to the environment. The budgeted amount of 206,000 euros is up by 25,000, but is third in terms of percentage increase. GOB note that a number of projects to be financed by the tourist tax are yet to be agreed by the committee which decides on revenue spending. Despite this, the group is surprised to observe that funds from the tax are reflected in some budget allocations.

Although it is not known how much of the tourist tax will go towards the environment, GOB states that the government Abaqua water agency will receive almost 20 million of tax revenue and the Ibanat nature agency will have half a million. Without funding from the tax, therefore, the real increase to the environment ministry's budget would be that much lower.

GOB maintain that there has been an historical "marginalisation" of this area of government and describe the budget as "inadequate". There are, the environmentalists continue, "many and very obvious" environmental needs in addition to palpable ones in respect of water. "We interpret the tourist tax as a means of compensating for the low increase in the environment budget and of allowing funds to be allocated to ministries which will not be beneficiaries of the tax. If it is used for financial engineering, we will witness a deception and a fraudulent commitment to the environment by the government."

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