At an urgent meeting of Balearics mayors on Friday, there was unanimous rejection of the agreement between the Spanish government and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) by which town halls would loan the government money from budget surpluses that they have in banks. Between all the town halls in the Balearics, this amounts to 555 million euros. Across Spain as a whole, it is 115,000 million euros.
Under the agreement, the government would provide "non-financial income" to municipalities that is proportional to the amounts loaned. This income would be for the express purpose of investment "with autonomy" in the "urban agenda, sustainable mobility, local care and culture". The government would provide a maximum of 2,000 million euros in 2020 to be distributed to town halls which forward loans and a maximum of 3,000 million euros in 2021. The remaining amount of the loans would be paid off over over ten years from 2022.
The Felib federation of town halls has rejected the agreement and also the way in which the FEMP has failed to take into account circumstances that are specific to regions and provinces. Felib is therefore demanding that better conditions are negotiated so that town halls can make investments or undertake general spending in ways that they consider to be appropriate. The mayors in the Balearics, all members of Felib, have also once again demanded that the budgetary stability law be repealed. This law has restricted town hall spending and is a major reason why the town halls come to have such vast amounts of money sitting in banks.
Toni Salas, the president of Felib and the mayor of Costitx, expressed his "pride" in there having been a unanimous agreement by the mayors. This was regardless of their political affiliations. "It is a unanimous agreement that I applaud, because it shows the maturity of politics."
President Armengol is being urged by the opposition Partido Popular "to defend and support the interests of Balearic town halls". The PP in the Balearics will be presenting a motion in parliament that calls for all town halls to be able to use their surpluses to mitigate the damage caused by the pandemic.