Mayors were yesterday considering their response to town halls having not received direct funding from the tourist tax.

4

The hot topic in parliament yesterday was the tourist tax, and specifically the way in which the revenue from last year has been allocated.

President Armengol insisted that the "sustainable tourism tax" has been a "social and political success" and called for "sights to be set high" as there will be many more rounds for distributing the millions of euros that will be collected to improve the Balearic Islands.

The distribution of revenue, she noted, had been in accordance with the legislation for the tax: 64.9% of the 30 million euros is to go towards projects in Majorca, 13.6% to Minorca, 19% Ibiza and 2.4% Formentera.

Marga Prohens of the Partido Popular said that the government had rendered "ineffective" the distribution of the 30 million euros. The government should, she argued, design a system of distribution with greater participation from town halls.

The allocation of revenue by the tourist tax spending committee had been "insulting" to town halls, Prohens suggesting that the money spent by town halls in drafting project proposals should be repaid. "Under an excuse of dialogue and consensus, everyone is being laughed at" by the spending decisions, especially the town halls, as they haven't received any direct investment.

Armengol said that the government will improve the allocation. "There was much expectation, but expectations have not been met," she accepted, adding that the priorities had been projects for improving water infrastructure and for environmental protection. She then attacked the PP for now demanding greater town hall participation for a tax that the PP hadn't wanted. If the PP had not repealed the old ecotax, she observed, "we would already have invested 1,000 million euros".

Laura Camargo of Podemos objected to 415,000 euros of the revenue having been allocated to tourism promotion on a project that "neither respects the letter nor the spirit of the tax". This was a reference to a guide to geological heritage, which Armengol defended by saying that it is linked to tourism diversification. Camargo disagreed. "Don't call it addressing seasonality. It is about attracting more tourists to the island, something that should not be done."

Meanwhile, Felib, the federation of Balearic local authorities which represents town halls, held a meeting yesterday at which the decisions taken on spending tourist tax revenue were discussed. Felib wanted to know if mayors wished to take any action over this exclusion.