The Commons ask Ricomà to 'touch' the IBI and the garbage
With double-digit inflation, with the Euribor reactivated, with skyrocketing energy costs and with great uncertainty ahead of an autumn marked by the economic effects that the war in Ukraine may continue to cause, it is clear that by 2023 it will be more crucial than never being able to count on a new budget.
During this 2022, Tarragona is the only Catalan city with more than 70,000 inhabitants that does not have accounts, since the government led by Pau Ricomà (ERC) failed to formalize any agreement with the opposition parties. For this reason, from January 1, 2022, the consistory manages the accounts extended as of January 1, 2021.
For this reason, facing 2023 with the budget of two years ago –before the entire economic tsunami and Russia's invasion of Ukraine– could entail serious economic problems for the municipal coffers of Plaça de la Font, which, in addition, will have to allocate more of one million euros for the increase in wage costs of public workers. The perfect Storm?
Now fees and taxes
Given all this panorama, at a technical level it seems more necessary than ever to be able to have a new budget so as not to repeat this year's situation, where the municipal government (ERC-Junts per Tarragona-CUP) has been forced to reset the economic forecasts for 2021 in more than 35 million euros.
Despite this, at the political level the situation seems more favorable than a year ago. At the end of 2021, the divorce with En Comú Podem was still very recent and the negotiations with the former ECP spokesperson, Carla Aguilar-Cunill, never reached any agreement, neither with rates and taxes nor with the overall budget. Now, on the other hand, the departure of Aguilar and the entry of Àngels Pérez – who a year ago was in favor of saying yes to Ricomà's accounts – could lead one to think that, a priori, the political situation could be more favourable.
However, the main ally of the Plaça de la Font executive prefers to go step by step and is committed to "first negotiating the fiscal ordinances before talking about the budget", according to sources from the municipal group, who state that the priorities of the group led by the councilor of the Comuns will be to squeeze the municipal cabinet to "touch and update" the IBI tax and the garbage rate.
"They need a thorough review that makes them more balanced and that allows lowering the fiscal pressure of those who have less," claims the progressive formation, who regrets that, despite the fact that the city has the second highest IBI rate among the capitals of Spanish provinces, this "has an inequitable distribution". At the same time, the Comuns will put on the table of the local government the fact that "the possibility that the legislation gives that 10% of non-residential properties have a higher tax rate is not taken full advantage of."
Likewise, ECP will "squeeze" Ricomà to also modify the garbage rate, which they consider to be a "historical injustice" due to the fact that, according to the progressives, less is paid "in the areas where the most expensive properties are of the city”, such as Passeig Rafel de Casanovas, which central streets and Ponent streets such as Colom, Canyelles or the Plaça de la Constitució de Bonavista.
Before the numbers, Ricomà will have to address some taxes that, in principle, he did not want to modify in an election year. Otherwise, he could go through a scenario of extended accounts that, for months, is no longer unknown at all.