The national secretary-of-state Matilde Asián, in Majorca for a conference yesterday, reiterated the Madrid government's opposition to the Balearic tourist tax and in particular the fact that residents of the islands have to pay it if they stay in tourist accommodation.
She said that the position of the national government is that tax does have to be of a level to guarantee essential public services, but that it is preferable to allow people to decide for themselves how they spend their money. "We have no interest in the tax burden continuing to increase indefinitely." She observed that Spaniards work 168 days a year in order to pay tax - burden enough without adding more taxes.
Asián said that she finds it "surprising" that a resident of Ibiza should have to pay the tourist tax when staying at a hotel in Majorca. She added that it will be interesting to discover the response of the European Union to an appeal against the tax brought by the hoteliers in Ibiza and Formentera.
On holiday rentals, Asián's stance was quite different. The regional government should decide how to apply rules. Decentralisation of responsibility for tourism affairs is positive and, in the case of the Balearics, decisions regarding rentals' legislation should be taken which reflect differences on each of the islands and indeed within islands.
Asián also announced that Madrid has decided to pull the plug on its financial commitment to the Playa de Palma renovation commission because the previous left-wing Balearic government of President Francesc Antich failed to correctly invest funds given to it on the agreed designated projects.
The decision will be contested by the current left-wing administration, but it would appear that Madrid is going to stick to its guns.
The secretary-of-state was in Majorca for the first time since she was appointed in November last year. She spoke briefly with tourism minister, Biel Barceló, who had to leave because of other meetings.
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