Palma mayor, Antoni Noguera, wants improved financing for the city. | Miquel À. Cañellas

Palma's mayor, Antoni Noguera, is calling for a fair system of financing for the city, which has grown considerably in recent years and contributes more to state funds than it receives. Noguera compares this situation with regional financing: "If the Balearics is the region that suffers most from plunder by the Spanish government, then Palma is the most ravaged capital city."

The state, Noguera notes in his latest open letter to the city's residents, justifies the transfer of financial resources to regions by appealing to the concept of solidarity. But over the past twenty years, this has meant that the Balearic Islands, once number one in terms of per capita income, have slipped to seventh. Moreover, the cost of living is higher in the Balearics than other regions, so in reality the per capita income is lower than the national average. "We continue to be the region that contributes the most per inhabitant to the state, but we do not receive what we need. And this perpetuates tax evasion."

Noguera explains that each year each citizen makes a net contribution to the state of around 3,500 euros. As far as Palma is concerned, the total contribution is this figure multiplied by a population of 400,000.

Because of its growth, Palma requires more public investment. Noguera argues that the city's needs are now greater than those of regions that receive "our false solidarity without having so much social demand".

The mayor is once more stressing the need to guarantee a right to housing. At present, the city has one per cent of housing that falls under the official protection category, i.e. social housing. The aim is to increase this to ten per cent in the coming years and to focus on it being for rent. This is difficult to achieve, he notes, without having the financial means that the city generates and which at present is not paid back.

Tourists, he adds, create cost because of the use of municipal services and resources, especially during the summer. It is important, therefore, that there is a fair financing system to transform outdated resort areas such as Arenal.

"It is absolutely essential to improve financing in order to ensure the city's success. We cannot be the ones who pay the most but continue to live below the average of those who receive this."