Minister of Finance and Knowledge Andreu Mas-Colell yesterday presented the calculations of the fiscal deficit between Spain and Catalonia in 2011, the most recent to date. The so-called fiscal balance is a hot topic in the independence debate, as Catalans consider it to be far too unbalanced, while the Spanish state sustains that it is just part of the country’s redistribution scheme, in which richer regions contribute more to the coffers than poorer ones.
As Mas-Colell put it, the assessment shows that “Spain is slowing Catalonia down”. According to the minister, Catalonia registered a fiscal deficit of 7.7% of its GDP in 2011, that is, €15.01 billion where contributed to the Spanish state that never returned as cash, public services or otherwise. This is equivalent to €2,055 per Catalan citizen or, put in context, it means that in 2011 Catalans contributed 19.2% of Spain’s total public revenue, yet they only received 14.0% in public spending.
ACN | Catalonia posted a fiscal deficit of 7.7% of its GDP in 2011, equivalent to €2,055 per citizen
“The wide majority of Catalan society (including all business associations and most of the political parties) has been asking for decades to reduce such contribution levels and, at the same time, to keep a certain degree of solidarity with poorer regions. However, the Spanish Government, no matter if it was run by the People’s Party (PP) or the Socialist Party (PSOE), has rejected to significantly modify this trend, which under-budgets public services in Catalonia and damages its economy and competitiveness.”
Vilaweb | Spain has pocketed 245 billion euros from Catalonia over past 24 years
“The latest data was published yesterday, as Minister of Finance and Knowledge Andreu Mas-Colell presented the assessment of the fiscal balance sheets for 2011, which reveals a fiscal deficit of Catalonia with respect to the Spanish State of 15 billion euros, that is, more than two thousand euros per capita that go to Madrid and don’t come back. The size of the fiscal deficit over the past three decades is overwhelming: more than 245 billion euros that have left Catalonia and stayed in Spain.”
ANSA | Catalonia Parliament wants a comeback away from Madrid
“The crisis has heightened resentment against the central government. Catalonia pays the highest percentage of taxes compared to any other region in Spain. “It must pay 8% of GDP to Madrid, which is huge”, Clara Ponsat, an economist with the University of Barcelona, told ANSAmed.
“In terms of average individual income, Catalonia ranks fourth amid Spain’s 17 regions. Once taxes are paid to the central government, it ranks ninth. How is that possible?”, wondered another Catalan economist, Carles Boix, a professor at Princeton University in the United States.”