The opposition Partido Popular failed in its bid to have the controversial tourist tax proposal rejected in the Balearic parliament yesterday. The left wing pact voted against the PP's motion to reject the tax on the grounds that it is “unfair and discriminatory,” and will have a negative effect on the region's tourist industry. The Balearic Minister for Finance, Joan Mesquida, defended the tourist tax, telling the house that the proposal is legal and that the approval of the tourist tax is a question of “national sovereignty” which meets the needs of the Balearics and complies with the philosophy of the local government that “we should be able to solve our problems by ourselves.” The Balearic government expects to raise an extra 12'000 million pesetas a year via the tourist tax, which will work out at an average of a Euro per person per day staying at a Balearic hotel. The government is adamant that the 12'000 million pesetas will be used to protect and manage the environment while improving the infrastructure and general appearance of tourist resorts. Mesquida denied that the tax is either illegal or discriminatory, pointing out that the design for the Balearic tourist tax is very similar to those enforced in France and Canada. “If a tourist decides not to come to the Balearics because of an extra 1'000 pesetas, well don't come then, because we don't want this kind of tourism.”

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