Catalonia paid Spain €20bn in taxes in 2019 that were never returned, says government

Almost 20% of state income from Catalan taxpayers but only 13.4% of total invested in Catalonia

The Catalan economy minister, Jaume Giró, in parliament on July 6, 2022 (by Mariona Puig)
The Catalan economy minister, Jaume Giró, in parliament on July 6, 2022 (by Mariona Puig) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 1, 2022 12:49 PM

Catalan residents paid €20.19 billion in taxes to the Spanish state in 2019 that never returned, according to the Catalan government.

Its annual estimation of the fiscal deficit, that is, the difference between the contributions to Spain's wealth and the investments it received in the same year, was published on Thursday, and like every year, it reports more money spent than received.

The fiscal deficit has been one of the long-lasting demands of Catalonia's governments for decades regardless of the party in charge, and one of the arguments used by the pro-independence camp to persuade residents to back their cause. 

Almost 20% of the Spanish state income (19.6%) arrived from Catalan taxpayers, that is, approximately €63 billion, but only 13.4% of the total was later invested in Catalonia, or €43 billion, said the economy minister, Jaume Giró. 

'8% average fiscal deficit since 1986'

"The average in fiscal deficit since 1986 is 8% of the GDP. For over 35 years, Catalans have been paying Spain a sort of tithe and we do not know in exchange of what," he said.

"The €20.19 billion account for 53% of the Catalan government's budget. This amount is the equivalent to the budget of the health, education and social rights ministries altogether in 2022."

Sources of the ministry explained that the estimation has taken into account income and spending related to the social security in Catalonia or implemented investments by Spain among others, but it is not exact because they have not been sent all the data needed for the calculations.

The last time fiscal deficit was estimated was using the 2016 figures, and the money paid and not returned in investments was €17 billion, 0.5 percentage points less than in 2019.