Local councils have requested an urgent plan from the government to handle local funding with the Catalan ayuntamiento avoiding setting a timetable for payment to underline the responsibility of the central government (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Federation of Municipalities have estimated that the government owes them around €500 million and mayors across Spain have expressed their concern over the situation of local finance. President of Federation of Municipalities of Catalunya (FMC) and Mayor of Sabadell, Manuel Bustos presented yesterday a local emergency plan to avoid what he called a situation of "pre-collapse". Economic minister Andreu Mas-Colell was presented with a package of measures with specific deadlines. Faced with these demands Mas-Colell stressed that the financial situation of the government is also precarious. Outlining the seriousness of the financial problem FMC president Bustos stated that some municipalities will fail to meet targets in services such as childcare and might not have sufficient funds to pay civil servant's payrolls. Addressing this issue, one of the proposals in the emergency package is that money received by the government no longer has to go on specified projects but can be used to address more pressing social priorities.
The government is to reintroduce a tax on wealth before November 20th after it was scraped by Zapatero in 2008 (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). The government has revealed plans to recover a tax on wealth (of which there is no equivalent in the UK) after eliminating it in 2008 after alleging that it had become a tax for the middle classes. However two years later, in March 2010, financial vice-president Elena Salgado was already acknowledging that the scrapping of the tax, which provided the state with €2,121 million, was perhaps a mistake. Salgado was quoted as saying "If we had foreseen the crisis, we would not have got rid of it". Now, less than three months before the general election, the government plans to retrieve it. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the PSOE candidate had already announced their intention to recover the tax on July 9th saying "now it is time for us to rethink and return to order". President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero had promised in December 2007 to eliminate the tax if he won the elections in March 2008 arguing that the measure would ensure fiscal equality, saying that it was outdated and complex and should be removed.
The Barcelona ayuntamiento is considering introducing advertising and opening up Bicing to tourists in order to recoup the high cost of the service (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). Bicing, the municipal bike service of Barcelona, is the most expensive in Spain costing annually €35 compared to €18 in Valencia and €25 in Seville. However despite costing more, the service costs the city around €15 million a year. Sònia Recasens, who is working in place of Xavier Trias who is on holiday, said yesterday that the city is seeking ways to capitalise on Bicing and among the possibilities are opening up the service to tourists or selling advertising. The service, which has 420 stations dotted across the city, now has 119,000 subscribers who take an average of 50,000 trips throughout the day, about 1.3 million journeys per month. Recasens has said that nothing is definite as to the type of advertising that could be used but has excluded alcohol and tobacco. The service, run by Clear Channel, has sent out a survey to businesses that might be interested in advertising with them. Mayor Xavier Trias has already proposed the idea of making the service available for tourists in his electoral campaign advocating the need of imaginative ways to pay for it. In Seville, tourists can pay €10 for a week's use of the bikes.