Opposition parties attacked tourist tax revenue spending decisions in the Balearic parliament yesterday. They accused the government of using the revenue to fill gaps in the budget, with the Partido Popular's Nuria Riera describing as a "joke" the manner in which decisions are made. Tourists believe they are paying for environmental recovery, when they are not.
Jaume Font of El Pi said that the purpose of the tax had been "perverted" and reserved particular criticism for the failure to fund projects proposed by town halls (with the exception of Palma). "The town halls are wasting their time."
Marc Pérez-Ribas of Ciudadanos believed that the spending decisions were evidence of the government's poor economic management and that they were a form of "fraud" against visitors, workers in the tourism sector and many citizens.
Josep Castells of Més in Minorca joined the opposition parties in claiming that the use of the tourist tax revenue is "illegal". "You (the government) act like you do because you believe that the citizens of the Balearics are fools."
Responding to these charges, the vice-president and minister for energy transition Juan Pedro Yllanes emphasised that the tax continues to have the purposes that were intended. There is investment in "strategies for tourism in the long term", and he defended the spending of the tax on the Palma Metro extension and the Balearic Symphony Orchestra's new headquarters.
Finance minister Rosario Sánchez reminded parliament that the tax is for a variety of purposes, e.g. environmental conservation, tackling tourism seasonality and research. Pilar Costa, minister for the presidency, dismissed the accusation that the tax is being used to cover gaps in government spending capability. This accusation is made every year, she maintained, and believed that arguments boiled down to "differences of opinion" regarding, for example, the use of the tax for social housing projects.