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Tax freeze in Catalan municipalities due to the coronavirus crisis

 The health emergency situation due to the coronavirus has forced Catalan municipalities to take drastic measures. In general, the local administration bets on Catalua for freezing rates and taxes in 2021.

The Barcelona’s town hall It plans to freeze all municipal taxes next year with the exception of the terrace tax, which will maintain the 75% reduction. The Consistory’s calculations predict that the decision will mean a drop in income of between 60 and 70 million euros compared to those initially planned for the current year.

In 2020, a disastrous year at all levels, the institution led by Ada Colau plans to enter 183 million euros less than the forecasts made. Despite the treasury problems, the local Executive advocates “being sensitive” and trying to mitigate the serious socioeconomic problems derived from the Covid crisis.

Added to the decrease in income is the exemption from the public price of commercial waste collection and the fall in collection in other areas, such as the green and blue parking areas. Hence, in the proposal Tax Ordinances For 2021, planned for the difficult context of the pandemic, a public road occupancy rate for shared-use scooters will be incorporated in a regime of economic exploitation, such as those already existing in the case of shared bikes and motorcycles.

From the Government team, they underline that the taxes  «are urgently adapted to the economic needs of the cityÂ. Colau’s Cabinet asks for “generosity” from all groups in the Consistory to approve the measures. Everything indicates that it will be done next December. The 2020 Tax Ordinances planned to increase municipal revenue by 66 million compared to the previous year, but the health emergency will cause it to be lower.

In addition, the City Council intends to introduce  «technical changes in 2021 with the Tax on Economic Activities, the Tax on Real Estate and the Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works so that help can be requested in the installation of energy panels solar and thermal uses.

The Tarragona City Council has announced measures to face the pandemic. Among them, the freezing of taxes or fees in specific sectors such as hospitality stands out. Â «It is about improving the quality of life of citizensÂ, synthesize from the Consistory, which will not charge the corresponding fees for the terraces of bars and restaurants or the use of the public thoroughfare in that sector until you can resume a activity paralyzed for at least two weeks due to the health crisis. Yesterday the PSC presented a motion in which it proposes that the City Council subsidize or subsidize 50% of the rate of garbage collection as well as that of occupation of the public thoroughfare until June 2021. The objective is to minimize damage economic losses caused by the virus. For its part, the CUP launched another proposal with which it urges the Consistory to demand that the State suspend the payment of mortgages, rents, and basic supplies while the establishments cannot open their doors.

The Girona City Council it will also freeze rates and taxes the following year. According to the mayor of the city, Marta Madrenas, they have sufficient resources to face the reduction in income and the increase in spending in 2021: The economic situation of the City Council and the good management of these last years allow us to freeze rates and taxes for next year, Despite the bad economic outlook, ”he explains. The Consistory will be able to maintain all current services thanks to the fact that it has reduced its level of indebtedness from 67% to 36% since 2011.

Bars and restaurants

The hospitality sector of Lleida alert that the third closure this year is facing is “unsustainable” for its finances. The owners of bars and restaurants in the region of Segria claim to feel “mistreated” by the Govern. In this context, everything indicates that the Lleida City Council and those of other towns in the province will freeze taxes.

Esquerra Republicana is betting that the sectors affected by the Covid restrictions do not pay fees to the municipalities. His proposal includes that, in addition to the rates, the suspension of taxes is also studied while the restrictions last. In Barcelona the republicans have succeeded.  «It is a rigorous proposal that can be applied», says the councilor of Esquerra Jordi Castellana.  «Effective support is needed, beyond the rhetorical and declarative,» he claims. In the Barcelona area, municipalities such as those of Matar, Santa Coloma de Gramenet or Sitges they plan to approve the freezing of municipal taxes in the near future.

One that has already done so is Vilafranca del Penedís. Although it will have to face investments in social areas that will increase as a consequence of the crisis,  «an effort will be made to contain spending to be able to assume it without having to increase its income via fees and taxesÂ, seà to the councilor of the Treasury, Aureli Ruiz. Other measures are the reduction between 25% and 30% of cemetery fees or the inclusion for the first time in the Real Estate Tax of a 50% discount for homeowners who put them up for rent with a limited income.

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