Catalonia's new economy minister, Jaume Giró, has announced that his government will present its first budget for the 2022 fiscal year. This was confirmed on Thursday by the minister of Parliament, who clarified that there is not sufficient time for the accounts to be ready for this year, with the new legislature only beginning in June.
"The government chaired by Pere Aragonés and all his ministers will work to make a good budget that provides shared prosperity and leads to economic growth which is social and environmentally solid," he said in response to a question from the Catalan Socialists.
Giró confirmed that the executive will start working on next year's accounts from next week and announced that he will contact all parliamentary groups to start a round of negotiations on the budget content.
Responding to the criticism from the Socialist deputy Alícia Romero on the fact that only two Catalan budgets have been passed in the last six years, Giró responded by noting that Spain has only approved one budget in the last three years: "It's the same".
When a new budget is not passed, the previous year's accounts are automatically extended.
A deficit that "bleeds" Catalonia
As well, Giró spoke of the "bleeding" fiscal deficit that Catalonia suffers under Spain's Autonomous Community regime in response to Romero's encouragement of the minister and former La Caixa banker to take part in Spain's Council of Fiscal and Financial Policy. "The data for 2016, the most recent that we have, place [Catalonia's] deficit at 16,947 million euros," he lamented.
Giró also denounced the state's investment deficit in Catalonia and cited a study by the University of Barcelona which states that the "cumulative impact" of this deficit "reduced Catalan GDP by 9.8 per cent", specifically, he said, a loss of 23,820 million euros.
The minister pointed out that the investment deficit in Catalonia is doubled due to the "low rate of execution of investments, which are announced but not carried out" and by "the great distance between the budgeted investment and the economic contribution of Catalonia to the Spanish state ". He specified that while the state invests 124.7 euros per resident in Catalonia, the average for the rest of the Autonomous Communities is 161 euros, with communities such as Castile and Murcia approaching 370 euros.
In this regard, Giró turned the request around and encouraged the Socialists to help the Catalan government to end this situation, taking advantage of the fact that they are hold the reins of power in Madrid. "I'm sure you can help us," he ventured.
Lastly, Giró urged business people to hold own events to demand that Catalonia's fiscal and investment deficits are overcome, after yesterday's gathering of business leaders to call for the expansion of El Prat airport.