Taxes on energy and banking achieve broad support despite the no from the right | Spain | The USA Print

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The general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra, this Tuesday at a press conference in Congress.
The general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra, this Tuesday at a press conference in Congress.Eduardo Parra (Europa Press)

The right wing said no, but a more than comfortable majority in Congress on Tuesday supported the processing of the proposal to create an extraordinary and temporary tax on banks and large energy companies. Faced with the resounding opposition of PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, the rest of the Chamber gave the green light to the joint proposal of PSOE and United We Can, although several groups announced that they will try to retouch it once its content begins to be addressed. The Government itself plans to amend it to polish some technical issues, according to Executive sources. The measure has received 187 votes in favor, 153 against and 8 abstentions.

The proposal of the two parties of the Executive not only brought together again its usual parliamentary support, including the PNV, which until the last moment remained in the dark about its position. Other groups that are not part of the government’s allied base, such as CUP, BNG or the Canarian Coalition, also gave their support to the process, and Junts abstained. This did not prevent several of them from formulating reticence and warning that they will try to modify the text. Both the PNV and EH Bildu make their final support conditional on allowing the Basque and Navarre leasehold estates to process the collection of the new taxes. The left abertzalelike ERC, demanded that these taxes go beyond an extraordinary measure and become permanent.

The PNV also expressed doubts about the legal framework of the measure, which technically is not presented as a tax, but with an abstruse name: “Public patrimonial benefit of a non-tax nature.” The Government expects to collect around 2,000 million euros from energy companies and around 1,500 million from banks with these taxes that will be applied for two years. The Basque nationalists, like other groups, subscribed to one of the opposition’s main complaints: that the initiative had been processed as a proposal by the political groups and not as a government bill, which would have forced the preparation of a economic memory and to obtain previous reports from the State advisory bodies. Another of the doubts that the measure raises among the same forces that supported it is how the purpose stated in the text of preventing companies from passing on taxes on receipts to citizens will be fulfilled. The proposal entrusts the National Competition Market Commission (CNMC) with monitoring this issue.

While Vox and Ciudadanos had already been anticipating their refusal for days, the PP was torn between rejecting and abstaining. And at the last moment he opted for the hardest position. In the defense of the no of the PP, his deputy Mario Garcés did not walk with half measures. He defined the initiative as a “legal monstrosity” that “undermines constitutional principles”, heir to the “most bilious communism of the 20th century” and that completes the “permanent fiscal felony” that Garcés attributed to the Government. Without so much panoply of disqualifications, the spokesman for Vox, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, remained in “cacicada”, while denouncing the alleged complicity with the Executive of the “business, economic and journalistic elites”.

One figure was repeated in the mouths of the spokesmen of the two government groups and the rest of the left: 20,000 million euros, the profits declared by the four largest banks in 2021. The socialist Patricia Blanquer argued that the rise in interest rates interest agreed by the European Central Bank (ECB) will allow financial institutions to increase their profits even more and he asked himself: “Who can be against helping people who suffer on account of the great profits of electricity companies and banks ?”. The spokesman for United We Can, Pablo Echenique, took the opportunity to charge the judges, to whom he attributed the intention of “helping his friends from the Ibex 35” if the affected entities or any political group goes ahead with its intention to challenge the measure in the courts.

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