The regional government has presented allegations to eliminate the so-called ‘status quo’ clause of the new regional financing model, which until now guaranteed that the better-financed communities did not receive less money than they had been receiving, “perpetuating” the inequality with the rest.
In addition, the Murcian Government has asked in its allegations that the restructuring of the debt that is dragging the Region due to the “underfunding” by the central Government is assumed “by all”.
Specifically, the regional government wants the debt to be “mutualised” and to look for a way to pay it “among all”, in order to be assumed by the “common system”, under the “whatever formula”, As reported by the Minister of Finance, Fernando de la Cierva, at the press conference following the Governing Council.
In particular, these points are reflected in the allegations made by the Government of Murcia to the report of the Permanent Technical Evaluation Committee, which “should gather the opinion of both the Ministry of Finance and the communities as a whole” on what should be the proposal that It has to be raised to the next Fiscal and Financial Policy Council (CPFF), which will foreseeably take place at the end of May or the beginning of June.
When asked if the motion of censure presented at the national level could affect the project, de la Cierva pointed out that last week he was convinced that “there would be a new model,” but the new political scenario “brings uncertainty” and “It can bring delays.”
A DOCUMENT “VAGO AND THAT IS NOT CONCRETE”
After analyzing the draft of the Technical Committee, the regional government has considered that “it does not faithfully reflect the technical debates that have taken place”. According to the counselor, the text has “quite vagueness” and “is not concrete in many aspects”, despite the fact that the debates of the different working groups “have reached a very high degree of consensus”.
The regional government does not see that degree of consensus reflected adequately in the draft, which “does not sufficiently value the previous document of the expert committee” that all communities “have valued as the best in terms of regional funding that has been carried out in the whole history of democracy in Spain. ” In his opinion, the experts’ document should be the “real basis” on which to carry out the “real” debate of the new model.
The regional government hopes that the presentation of allegations by the communities can redirect the debate and extract “all the good” from the expert committee document in order to achieve a “more concrete and operational” result.
The Murcian Government has emphasized all those points in which there was previously a high degree of agreement, in order to “try to achieve a greater degree of concreteness”.
One of the issues that is “nuclear” for the Region, in which the regional government has emphasized its claims is the so-called ‘Status Fund’, that is, a clause that had all funding systems so far and that stated that “nobody perceives less than what he had been perceiving”.
This clause, according to De la Cierva, “perpetuates the differences that have always existed in the beginning”, and makes the possibility of convergence between the different autonomous communities “very difficult”. And it is a guarantee that the best financed “continue to be”, practicing “solidarity upwards”.
Well, the committee of experts recommended the disappearance of this fund, and the regional government has also positioned itself in favor of its elimination. However, he regrets that the Permanent Technical Evaluation Committee document continues to collect this Status Fund.
The regional government wants to simplify the model, eliminate this clause from the ‘status quo’ and establish a basic funding fund that covers the basic services (Health, Education and Social Services); as well as creating a complementary leveling fund for “exceptional” situations.
PAY THE DEBT “AMONG ALL”
On the other hand, De la Cierva has lamented that the Region of Murcia is dragging a situation of underfunding for years. Specifically, he recalled that the Region was the only Community, together with the Basque Country, which had financial balance in 2007, which was taken as the basis of the previous financing system.
However, he regrets that the Community currently has a debt of 8,700 million euros, which he considers “direct consequence in 80 percent of the financing system”. And is that, if the Region “was financed as the whole of the average in the communities, would be receiving 180 euros more per capita, ie, 264 million euros more funding per year.”
In fact, he pointed out that if the Region had disposed of those 264 million euros in 2017, it would have closed the year with “zero deficit”. Therefore, the regional government is committed to address the “restructuring of debt,” taking into account that it is a “problem of all.”
In his opinion, the restructuring of the debt has to be done in two tranches. The first tranche would be common for all the autonomous communities to “finance basic services”, and the second tranche “should cover the increases in debt that have been produced by a manifestly unjust financing system”.
“The debt of the financed peers must be paid by all, at least, in the part that corresponds to the fundamental public services”, as the Minister of Finance maintains, who has stressed that this position is shared by the Independent Authority of Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), and the committee of experts have also pronounced “similarly”.
If the debt situation is not solved, De la Cierva warns that public administrations could not be re-financed in the markets.
PRINCIPLES OF SUFFICIENCY AND EQUITY
In addition, the regional government has called for the so-called “sufficiency principle” to be implemented, which implies that “it is guaranteed that the new financing system covers all the competencies assumed by the autonomous communities in Health, Education and Social Services.
Similarly, remember that both the experts and some communities have calculated that in the base year of the new model, which would be 2015, “would require additional funds for a greater financing of 16,484 million euros for all the autonomies” to give coverage of fundamental public services.
De la Cierva stressed that there is another principle of “equity” that implies that “we have a full leveling of resources.” For example, the counselor has pointed out that the difference in financing between the Region of Murcia and Cantabria, which is the “best financed” community, is 891 euros per head per year.
“It seems that a bed in Valdecilla and the Arrixaca are worth the same,” as De la Cierva has asserted, who asks what is the origin of the difference between one financing and another. Therefore, bet on “close” that fork or, at least, that is “more equitable.”
Finally, the Murcian Government has asked that the financing be “exactly the same” between autonomies under the “adjusted population”, a concept in which the set of communities show a certain “consensus” and that weighs the number of inhabitants according to the criteria such as dispersion, among other things.