“Why do we want autonomies if there is no difference in their taxes?”


Publication: Sunday, December 6, 2020 6:52 a.m.

The latest edge of a nebula that still surrounds Constitution Day, the state of autonomies model, took a different turn last week. During the negotiations for the approval of the proposed budget in Congress, an old acquaintance came to the fore: tax policy.

Taxes, taxes and other taxes. Tributes generally haunt the conversation of our institutions, because in their management lies one of the great ideological bets of each government. The law transfers the taxation of assets with regulatory capacity to the autonomous communities. It is: the power to decide on certain taxes.

The architect behind this model was the former Minister of Finance, Cristóbal Montoro. Holder of the same portfolio over two different periods – between 2000 and 2004 at Aznar; between 2011 and 2018 with Rajoy-, defends in an interview with LaSexta its position on tax harmonization and categorically denies having proposed at the time to standardize heritage and inheritance. Transmitted to Congress archives.

“You don’t want to take me for a walk when I’ve never been in the procession,” Montoro laughs.

“It’s like saying that the IBI has to be the same in Madrid and Teruel”

For the former head of the Treasury, what lies behind the tax harmonization proposals that the government announced through his successor in office, María Jesús Montero, calls into question one of the pillars of the state Spanish as we know it. “The underlying logic is the reason why we want a state of autonomies if there is no difference for the taxes that apply”, he summarizes.

“It’s as if we said that the IBI should be the same per square meter in the Spanish capitals as in the cities of the province of Soria or Teruel. It’s just not the same. The market value is different, ”he argues.

So, not to mention the harmonization. But what Montoro takes away is its policy of respecting the uniqueness of each territory that makes up Spain: a country in which forest estates coexist, communities with a common regime and tax incentives in places like cities. autonomous or the Canary Islands. . “I was not very favorable to harmonization. What I have tried to do is promote fiscal co-responsibility in a country like Spain, ”he says.

A la carte taxes in each territory

The differential law, in his view, between the two positions is that the characteristics of each community have been improved, even in the weeks preceding the motion of censure. “During the last legislature with an absolute majority, in 2015, we presented a bill for a special regime for the Balearic Islands”, he recalls in conversation with this channel.

“We have always been in the singularity and now it turns out that they place me in the line of harmonization”, he quips. “It should not be confused. It’s one thing for technical groups to come together to get advice, to get advice … They won’t find me easily. All you have to do is enter the Congress website and type in my speech in May 2018 ”.

Because Montoro did not plead “for harmonization”, he argues. The controversy arises because, in 2017, technical meetings with the autonomous communities were held within the Ministry of Finance to discuss the financing system. “There has never been a political meeting,” rejects the former minister. “No comment from a technical meeting was ever promoted, let alone the minister or the ministry talked about harmonization.”

“In May, weeks before the motion, there is an intervention on my part in the finance committee. The last one I did. I broached the question of the future of regional funding and you have here what the criteria were, ”he underlines. “He even talked about reviewing special liquidity financing systems, like the FLA, the consequences of what had been government debt generation… I explained everything. What I have never addressed is harmonization ”.

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