Expenditure on personnel, public debt, basic services, social promotion, taxes … Expenses and income of Spanish local entities are still under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Finance, to which they have delivered their latest accounts at the end of 2013. The budgetary balances of the Spanish city councils “evolve positively”, assures the department that Cristóbal Montoro directs, but 1,140 municipalities closed the year with more expenses than income. On average, local governments spent 1,020 euros per inhabitant to enter, counting direct and indirect taxes, 1,180.
The data comes from the analysis of the budget settlement data for more than 7,500 municipalities in 15 communities (the Basque Country and Navarra do not send this detailed breakdown to the Ministry of Finance). From this information, The confidential It has made a tool to know how much each city enters and how much it spends and compares centers of the same population size [descargue aquí la base de datos completa].
Interactive application: has your city council raised its taxes?
Analysis of these data highlights how the public debt continues to weigh down the accounts of large municipalities. And the main victim is spending on goods and services: the higher the former, the lower the latter. Small municipalities are saved from this situation, with less debt and more dedication of resources to goods for citizens. With some exceptions that the rule confirms, such as the more than 3,000 euros per head of the inhabitants of Carmporrélls, in Huesca.
But, in the debt chapter, once again Madrid tops the list of large cities. The efforts of Ruiz-Gallardón and Ana Botella have left Madrid residents with a debt of 415 euros per inhabitant. The Spanish capital, in addition, is a rare case in which only one game is below average of the municipalities of its size, that of spending on actions of social promotion.
A similar case is that of Jaén, where the tram continues to weigh down the item dedicated to the city’s public debt. This problem also reaches the islands, where the inhabitants of Santa Cruz de Tenerife have to bear a debt of 259 euros per head.
Not everything is bad news, since many municipalities focus their budgetary effort on basic public services. Among the large Spanish cities, the one that could dedicate the most to this game was the Badajoz City Council, with 50% of its expenses, slightly above A Coruña (48%) and Barcelona (46%). It is to actions of a general nature (macro-item that includes from administrative expenses to tax administration and wealth management) that most of the spending of Zaragoza goes, which, among the main Spanish cities, is the one that dedicates the least to public services. Only 16% of your expenses.
The most controversial expense
In the case of spending on personnel, however, the difference between spending per inhabitant in towns of less than one hundred people and in large cities does not exceed 100 euros. In this category –the cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants–, the City Council of Alcobendas is the one that spends the most in the local civil service. “Alcobendas offers many municipal services and has already frozen the number of City Council workers, in addition to cutting down on trusted personnel,” Agustín Martín, councilor for Finance and Human Resources in the Madrid town, told this newspaper. “The City Council meets the deficit and has great economic strength, so it has not had to resort to plans to cut staff,” he adds.
As for the social promotion actions, which include care for disabled or dependent people, large municipalities have the economic possibility of investing more. The average contribution of cities with more than half a million inhabitants is 110 euros per person, 40 euros less than those who have to dedicate to correct their public debt.
However, in the case of centers with more than 100,000 inhabitants, there are cases where the budget contribution barely reaches 30 euros per citizen. It is the case of Torrejón de Ardoz, where the budget settlement indicates that only 31 euros were spent per head to this section. However, explain municipal sources of Torrejón, there are many policies that are carried out beyond budgets: “As an example, it should be remembered that we were the only town in Madrid that enabled a children’s dining room this summer or that the families with all their members unemployed will not pay the IBI“, they indicate from the municipality.