The Generalitat is to impose a temporary income tax on fortunes over €500,000 (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). It will only be applied while the Catalan government is following its austerity measures and public spending cuts, and will be revoked once budgetary normality is resumed. In addition, it will only be applied to accumulated funds rather than on the re-investment of profits. These are some of the details of the new tax that was announced by president of the Generalitat Artur Mas during his appearance before the Catalan parliament yesterday during the debate on general policy; the additional information was revealed on radio station RAC1 this morning by CiU spokesperson Oriol Pujol, because Mas didn't go into details when he initially announced it. Pujol added that the move had more in common with the steps being taken to tax the rich by US president Barack Obama than the reintroduction of the Spanish wealth tax by outgoing prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
The former mayor of Barcelona Jordi Hereu has criticised the new mayor Xavier Trias for changes he wants to make to the accounting system at city hall (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). Trias made the announcement about the changes on Monday as part of a government measure that needs to be approved in a plenary session of the council. The mayor and his team want to apply European criteria to the accounting, called SEC95, which, according to Trias, will reduce the amount of money left in the city's coffers by Hereu when he left office at the end of June, and will force the council "to be more realistic", added the mayor. He also warned that the municipal economic and financial plan will have to be revised downwards as a result. The Catalan Socialist party (PSC), which Hereu heads up in the council, responded on Monday that the council had already been using SEC95 since 2008. Yesterday, Hereu went even further—he said the initiative was "a resounding technical [and] financial error, both in management and political terms." He accused the council of "creative accounting" to try to damage the PSC, and at the same time injuring the solvency and good name of Barcelona. He described Trias—who "doesn't get it", he said—as "that frivolous mayor that we have" who is "very irresponsible" for having said that Barcelona had to decide if it wanted to do its accounts "in the Greek, Spanish or German style."
The Catalan government has announced to various social organisations that it will have to delay payments to publicly supported residences for old people, the disabled, drug addicts and people with mental illnesses by up to two months (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). The department of social welfare and family was the one that revealed the news to the organisations concerned and said that it would do its best to make sure that the delay in payments was only one rather than two months; sources from the department also said that the decision had been taken to postpone the payments because there was no other option than to prioritise other help. The government also blamed the general lack of liquidity in Europe for the delay in making these payments. The conseller of economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, confirmed that "there is tension in liquidity all over," and played down the importance of the decision, which he said was "common" and stressed that it wasn't a cut of 100 percent but depended on each group. They are "short term and strictly temporary" measures, Mas-Colell added. Asked again about the issue on two occasions, the spokesman for the government, Francesc Homs avoided giving any further explanations for the decision.