Sunday, 7 October 2012

Another reason Spain is in this mess: Regional Parliaments cost too much

Parliament of Andalucía

Other entities duplicate the central government's own
SPAIN Maintaining the 17 parliaments and their 1,218 deputies costs some €183.8 million a year, almost three times as much as the central Congress of Deputies and the Senate. Over one third of that goes to salaries for the legislators and their civil servants. The Chamber of Andalucía has an annual budget of €46.7m, of which €18m goes on salaries.SOON YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO
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At the top end of the scale, the Catalan parliament receives €59m for its 135 deputies, followed by Andalucía and, some way down, that of the Community of Madrid, with €30m for 129 seats. Thus, Madrid, with only six seats less, spends half that of Catalonia.

Another example of duplication is that of regional ombudsmen and women. Called Defensor/a del Pueblo (Defender of the People), they have the same function as that of the central government's Defensor. Eliminating the regional ones would necessarily mean increasing the budget of the central government's Defender. And it is debatable that someone in Madrid could give the local perspective of a case in, say, Murcia.

To debate, too, has been the need for extensive regional TV and radio networks. Here, the debate is largely about the use of different official languages together with Spanish, as in the Basque region, Galicia and Catalonia. In most other regions the on-air language is usually Spanish as it is spoken in general, without too much regional usage or even intonation.

The fact is, of course, that at a time of serious financial constraints, a region with three or four TV channels and at least two radio stations, may be seen as extravagant. So far, though, no serious attempt has been made to eliminate any of these. Doing so, would put a great many people out of a job, swelling the already appalling unemployment figures.

(In another item, we will look at the many government layers, some of which could be deleted practically without noticing it - except by the employees concerned, of course, but that's another story as we said.)

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