Taxes or education: the “ideological” clash between Junts and the investiture bloc beyond the “procés”

Pedro Sánchez has thrown himself into the arms of the entire independence movement to govern in this 15th Legislature and survival in Moncloa is going to be difficult in the face of demands as complicated to accept as those proposed by Junts or ERC (mainly the independence referendum). But it is not only the “processist” demands that are going to give Sánchez headaches, but also how to fit the pieces into the puzzle to be able to approve laws that can please both PNV and Junts and Esquerra and Bildu given the ideological differences. What’s between games?

In this sense, taking a look at the latest survey by the Center for Opinion Studies of the Generalitat (Catalan CIS) published in December, you can immediately see what the profile of the Junts voter is on issues as diverse as taxes or management. of education or health. And, on many occasions, taking a Catalan perspective, the differences between Junts voters and those of the Socialists, Sumar or ERC are very important.

One of the areas that the 15th Legislature can have the most impact on is taxes, as has happened in the last four years, although the PSOE Government did not dare to go further and carry out an in-depth reform: the Treasury did receive a guide to prepare a tax reform (the 2022 White Paper) and introduced patches, such as the controversial taxes on banks, energy companies and large fortunes, but it stayed there. In this sense, although Junts voted in favor of the creation of these three taxes, its voters seem to amend them, to a certain extent: according to the Catalan CIS survey, only 32% of its voters are in favor of increasing the tax. Companies (a percentage that is below those of ERC, Sumar or PSC) and only 19% are in favor of increasing the Equity rate (almost half that of Sumar and below the ERC and PSC).

In this sense, according to the survey, the vast majority of Junts voters are committed to maintaining or reducing corporate, personal income tax, wealth, VAT or inheritance taxes. Of this group of five taxes, 62% of Junts voters are mostly betting on lowering Successions, a higher percentage than voters of Sumar (42%), PSC (48%) or ERC (57%). The differences in Patrimony are also evident, since 30% of Junts voters are betting on lowering it, higher than the 24% of Sumar, 26% of the PSC or 27% of ERC. Despite the tax on large fortunes established by the Government, both Inheritance and Patrimony are in the hands of the autonomous communities. On the other hand, VAT, Corporate Income Tax and Income Tax are in the hands of the Government and Junts voters have preferences practically similar to those of the rest of the parties that form or support the Government.

Another of the big differences that stand out in the survey is the educational field. There, Junts voters are divided between who manages education better: 30% consider that it is better managed by the private sector, while 32% say it is the public sector. The other third (35%) considers that private and public services work equally well. In any case, there is a lot of difference with the voters of the rest of the parties, who mostly defend that public management of education is better: this is the opinion of 47% of the voters of ERC, 48% of the PSC and 68% of Sumar . Junts voters also show above-average satisfaction with concerted education (above Sumar or ERC voters and above the satisfaction they show with public education), an education that has been in the focus of the controversy because the current Government has given clear signs of placing obstacles through its educational reform (Celáa Law of 2020).

Regarding health management, there is less difference between Junts and ERC, PSC or Sumar voters. 33% of post-convergent voters prefer private management of healthcare, while 29% of ERC voters and 28% of PSC voters also have the same opinion (and only 19% of Sumar voters). Health, like education, is also transferred to the autonomies, although in the last legislature there was a lot of pressure from parties like Podemos to put work on privatization: in fact, the Government approved a bill along those lines, although it finally did not obtain the green light in Congress.

The lower support for taxes and public intervention in the management of services such as health or education means that Junts voters make considerably less use of public services than the average Catalan (that is, they the average also of Sumar, ERC or PSC voters): the survey reflects that they make less use of public health centers, as well as hospitals and public transportation, or social services or employment services. The only two public services in which Junts voters use more than the average or are average are the Mossos d’Esquadra and Justice.

The truth is that, beyond the decisions that Junts ends up making, voters also show their positions and that has a lot of influence on the direction of the legislature.