The Spanish Government has just moved token for a new regional financing system, expired since seven years. The proposal presented, and which has to affect the supposed new system, is elaborated at the moment around the concept of population and depopulation and spending needs of the CC.AA. And thus it deepens, in my opinion, in the confusion that surround regional financing. This is what Fedea’s own director, Ángel de la Fuente, has called a ‘little Frankenstein’. This spawn comes from the play of different funds and subfunds, which have a life of their own and erratic evolution, so that the result is the son of many mothers and does not allow us to recognize any robust pattern for what was spawned. Now, from maintaining the unity of the common system, unable to accept a minimum of autonomic diversity with the exception of the Basques, who in the face of all the attacks preserve their privileges, a new indicator is ‘invented’. The adjusted population with multiple variants. Note that, contrary to what some say, this is not a refined estimate made by the central administration of the spending needs of each Community. Simply, set a new distribution criteria, whatever the amount of resources that the central government wants to distribute in favor of the Autonomous Communities on a population basis, which has nothing to do with the needs of regional spending. Nor is the adjusted population an improved indicator of the relative cost of providing the same service (and even less ‘uniform’) over the territory. At best, it will be a demand pressure gauge exercised by the theoretical population, and not the real or effective one. No referent is taken into account, from the offer, of how much the same service costs on geography, given its relative prices, and there is no news about improving fiscal responsibility. Even on the assumption that the effort to show data and statistical management would be worth as a solution to the intricacies in which territorial financing is found, it is fair to say that all, I repeat, all the proposed adjustments are debatable. You will see, to the extent that its effects on the resources of each Community are known, how ‘flagship’ experts will come out with allegations that will attack either the calculation, the weights or the definitions of the variables, demanding new commitments to preserve the ‘status quo’. A journey to get nowhere.

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Fedea has already spoken, in fact, against the adjustment for the supposed fixed cost of supplying public services, which is made variable by sections, or against correction for territorial depopulation, by discretionary and arbitrary. It is known that in this effort to disguise the state decision with ‘technical’ criteria, the vagueness concepts (depopulation, what spending bias does it generate ?; and overpopulation?), the difficulty of finding variables that capture aspects that have many dimensions (surface area, rurality, density), to refer to the population stratified by discontinuous sections (does anyone believe that, up to 74 years of age, it is a ‘need’ and at 75 it is a different one?). Even accepting this, the need for weight these variables standardizing them in each service (what will we count here, the observed or the desirable use?), to combine them with areas of need for other benefits (as if, for example, health and social care could be segmented), always based on the expenditure observed as if it were this optimum (do we want to maintain primary care at 14% of total health expenditure?). The result of all this is an inseparable combination of models and hypotheses (up to six are specified in higher education), and all this with results that, even assuming they adjust the global figures desired by the State on the basis of injecting more resources, remain susceptible to a sufficiently unpredictable future evolution (for example, in the treatment of the elderly).

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If I had to say, in a Catalan key, something positive about the document of the ‘Permanent Technical Committee’, which Minister Montero has distributed for those of us who think about alternative asymmetric models, I would now comment that the mess of what is proposed is so great that makes it less feasible and reasonable that the more moderate Catalanism can swallow it. The Ministry thus digs and delves into its own hole that makes the standardizing solution to which it seems to aspire even more impossible, although not robust, and moves the proposal away from what should be part of an agreement with the pro-independence dissidence.

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