Spending bonanza for 2019
Last budget of legislature for coalition government in Valencia
By Dave Jones THE REGIONAL government has unveiled a budget for 2019 which includes €1.6 billion in investment projects.
Treasury councillor Vicent Soler said this would see an increase of 44% on this year’s figure
“This is the largest rise since 2011,” he noted.
This is the last budget which the ruling coalition of the Socialist party (PSOE) and Compromís will pass before the elections in May next year.
The government led by Ximo Puig claims that the investments will lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs.
One of the largest outlays has been earmarked for school building, with €173 million available for the Pla Edificant scheme.
Sr Soler said this will allow them to replace temporary classrooms with bricks and mortar schools in many areas.
There will also be more classrooms available for babies aged up to three years old as Valencia moves to increase facilities for working parents.
He explained that €35 million has been set aside for their strategic plan for industry, with an additional €13 million to boost the production of renewable energy in the region.
Valencia’s public bank will receive €75.7 million to provide credit for businesses, companies and ‘vulnerable people’.
Debtridden town halls will be able to bid for aid from a pot of €10 million. Sr Soler explained that funding for the running of regional government departments will increase by 9.9% compared with last year to a total of €16.7 billion
This is to ensure that ‘quality public services’ are available
For health, Sr Soler noted that for the first time 20% of the budget will go to local health centres and mental health projects.
Funding will be also be used to eliminate copayment (copago) of prescriptions for low wage earners.
The money available. for housing will rise from €20 million to €40 million.
Despite the increase in spending, Sr Soler noted that the huge public debt which the coalition government inherited is still eating into the cash they have available for public services.
Their obligations will see them stump up €5.2 billion this year to repay the banks – an increase of 13.5% on last year.
Sr Soler lamented that this is the third largest outlay they have to make, with only the budgets for health and education receiving more money.
Vicent Soler with vicepresident Mónica Oltra announcing the budget for 2019