Local Catalan Governments Refusing to Forward Taxes to Madrid

Here’s some follow-up on the tax resistance campaign for Catalan independence that I covered . According to La Voz de Barcelona, some local governments in Catalonia have signed on to the campaign:

A group of city councils will promote a campaign of tax resistance along the lines of Òmnium Cultural

The initiative has emerged from the mayor of San Pedro de Torelló and spokesperson for Decidim.cat, Jordi Fàbrega, who while acknowledging it as “a pressure tactic” that is allowed by the financial arrangement of the Generalitat of Catalonia, does not rule out carrying out a genuine cierre de cajas [shutting of the cashboxes] if the number of rebellious cities were to be very large.

The threat of tax resistance raised this week by Òmnium Cultural now has its echo at the municipal level. Various Catalonian city councils governed by nationalist parties are preparing a campaign of tax resistance that will begin after Summer, under the umbrella of the secessionist platform of Decidim.cat, which groups more than 1,400 elected local officials.

The mayor of San Pedro de Torelló (Barcelona) and spokesperson for Decidim.cat, Jordi Fàbrega (Republican Left of Catalonia), has announced in El Punt that the city council has drafted a motion, that probably will be approved in September, and that can serve as the model for other cities that want to join. “For some time we have had this idea in mind, and now with Òmnium we have seen clear,” he said.

The text will support the pressure tactic designed by Òmnium, along the lines of announcing a process of “tax resistance” if there is no end to what the nationalists call “fiscal plundering.” Fàbrega himself acknowledges that it is “a pressure tactic,” a political threat, rather than a practical one, since “you cannot risk the functioning of the city government.” However, if the number of rebellious cities were to become large, he would not rule out putting tax resistance into play.

Multiple secessionist initiatives at the local level

Fàbrega, who had been the delegate from the Generalitat in Cataluña Central until the arrival of the Convergence and Union party in the autonomous government, is known for his activism at the head of Decidim.cat. In , the platform launched a campaign of municipal rebellion against the Supreme Court rulings that required the Generalitat to restore bilingual education.

Also, he participated actively in another campaign, launched in , by the city cuncil of Puerto de la Selva (Gerona), which brought more than a hundred assemblies to declare themselves “morally excluded” from the Constitution — some of them, with the help of the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia — in response to the Constitutional Court ruling on the statute. Previously, there have been campaigns to lower the Spanish flag from municipal buildings and to raise estaladas with total impunity.

More recently new secessionist movements have arisen at the local level. The most prominent is the one involving the mayor of Vic, Josep Maria Vila d’Abadal of Unió, known for his proposals to “require immigrants to become Catalans,” or for dismissing the victims of ETA attacks in that region. Vila d’Abadal announced his intention to create an association of towns for independence, an initiative that has received the support of the new mayor of Gerona, Carles Puigdemont (Convergence and Union party).