The Government of the Generalitat demands compensation of 1,700 million euros from the State as a result of the “tax reductions adopted unilaterally” as a result of the covid pandemic, reductions that “have impacted”, they denounce, on the income of the Generalitat of Catalonia despite the fact that the State Government distributed direct aid between the territories for 7,000 million euros, of which almost 1,000 million were transferred to Catalonia.
The Government refers to the tax reductions of the last three years, such as the special tax on electricity, VAT reductions for gas and electricity, on masks or basic foods. And to reverse the decline in income with compensation, they propose a fund transfer schedule: 172 million this July, 642 million more in 2024 and 862 million in 2025. “We claim what corresponds to us,” said the Minister of Economy, Natàlia Mas, this Wednesday.
But this is just one of the economic grievances that the Government puts on the table. Together with him they denounce the need to comply with the law on VAT collection, on which they assure that the autonomous communities do not receive 50% as the norm, but 37%. A deviation that is a consequence of the changes in the tax since 2010, in particular of some increases whose collection of more “has been kept by the State”. In the Ministry of Economy they calculate that this deviation represents an accumulated loss of collection of 13,000 million euros between 2010 and 2021.
Another of the folders in which the Catalan Executive notices a grievance is the distribution of deficits. During the pandemic, the EU suspended the obligation to comply with the established limits, but starting next year Brussels will set the margins again. In the case of Spain, the Government reproaches that it has sent to the community authorities a distribution of the “absolutely disproportionate” deficit targets because the State reserves 100% of the margin assigned by Europe while demanding a zero deficit from the autonomous communities and a surplus of two tenths to the municipalities.
In this case, the central government proposes to Brussels a deficit of 3.1% for 2023, 3% in 2024 and 2.8% in 2025 and 2026. On the other hand, for the autonomies it proposes a deficit of 0.% this year and 0% in 2024. This distribution is especially “incomprehensible” for the Government taking into account that the main providers of public services that support the welfare state correspond to the autonomies and local entities. “The autonomous communities assume 32.1% of spending,” they recall.
The last grievance pointed out by the department of Natàlia Mas is the infrastructure deficit. Although the Minister for Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, has recalled today that in 2022 859 million were invested in this area in Catalonia, “the largest investment since 2012”, the Government makes a very different reading . “Since the current Executive has been in Moncloa, since 2018, only 54% of what was budgeted in Catalonia has been executed”, so that there are 2,738 million euros that have remained unexecuted.”
Even the Catalan Executive compares the data with the Community of Madrid. Thus, since 2015, in Catalonia 62% of those planned have been executed, while in Madrid it was 122%. In total, the amount that has remained unexecuted in Catalonia amounts to 3,754 million euros in investments.