Local Daily News 23rd September

Fiscal policy enters the campaign at the same time that tax collection soars

Fiscal policy is positioning itself as one of the core issues of public debate at the state level and, also, in the scenario of the Spain of the autonomies. Faced with a context of generalised inflation and with an economy hit by the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the management of taxes is the focus of the strategy of the left and right blocs, which defend the application of conflicting recipes within the framework of a campaign, that of the electoral processes of 2023, which is beginning to take flight. Everything indicates that the battle to conquer the voter will continue to fuel the race to legislate to redirect taxes, but if there is a common denominator for progressives and conservatives, it is the starting point. The collection of the Tax Agency in Alicante increased by 21.8% until July, almost four points above the national average, and reached 2,632 million euros, while the figure deposited in the coffers of the Generalitat for assigned taxes it was even more generous. It exceeded 745 million between January and August of this year, which translates into 45.7% more than in the same period of the previous year.

The pull of the economy after the blockade generated by the covid pandemic and the inflation that has triggered the shopping basket, together with the fact that the Valencian Community registered ten uninterrupted months of job creation until August, are some of the factors that feed the tax income of the Generalitat and the State from what the people of Alicante pay. Three of the most significant state taxes reflect this. 26% more has been collected for personal income tax until the month of July, with a total of 1,155 million; 18.9% more in VAT, reaching 1,193 million; and 14.4% higher was the income from Corporation Tax, with 119 million euros. They are taxes that are managed by the central government but that also have an impact on the Valencian coffers, since 50% of the income from VAT and practically the same from personal income tax ends up being transferred to the autonomous communities. To this income generated from taxes must be added others such as those charged by the Madrid large taxpayers unit, such as VAT from large companies that have their headquarters in Madrid, even if buyers pay the tax in the province.

Among the taxes managed directly by the Generalitat, the increase in collection has been more significant. During the first eight months of the year, income from the Property Transfer Tax, which is generated by the sale of homes, has been close to an increase of 58% to exceed 528 million. Also that of Documented Legal Acts, which taxes, among other issues, the formalisation of mortgages, has climbed 19% and has contributed 90 million euros to the regional fund. And practically the same percentage has triggered the volume collected by the Inheritance Tax, which has exceeded 79 million euros. In that case, the main cause has been the increase in deaths linked to the pandemic.

Is there room to tweak taxes? Is a tax variation convenient to deal with the current situation? That is a question to which almost the entire political spectrum of the Valencian Community answers in the affirmative. However, the proposals to introduce changes do not apparently go in the same direction, and replicate tendencies of what the big parties defend at the national level. For now, everything indicates that the Generalitat will promote a tax change that would come into force with the approval of the Budget Accompaniment Law, at the end of the year. The head of the Consell, the socialist Ximo Puig, announced this measure with the start of the political course although, for the moment, he has not revealed any specific details. Puig has only underlined that it will be a reform articulated along the lines of fiscal progressivity to benefit low and medium incomes. Nothing more. It is assumed that it will be in the general policy debate, which starts next Tuesday in the Valencian Parliament, when the president of the Generalitat will detail the fundamental axes of a proposal that, however, has to agree with his government partners, Compromís and United Podem. The purples, above all, have shown reluctance while waiting for the fine print of what until now is still a proposal that is being worked on in the Ministry of Finance. On a national level, Puig asks for a fiscal reform to be articulated to harmonise taxes and avoid fiscal dumping, that is, unfair competition, which, according to complaints, is orchestrated especially from Madrid. That is something that is up in the air, although what has now entered the agenda of the Pedro Sánchez Executive is to promote a tax on large fortunes, as announced on Thursday by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero. That is a proposal from its government partners, United We Can, that the PSOE rejected months ago.

The main opposition group, the PP led by Carlos Mazón, is not that it has now joined the fiscal revolution that executives such as those of Andalusia are beginning to promote, which has just announced the elimination of the Wealth Tax and the deflation of personal income tax in your community; that of Murcia, which will deflate personal income tax and is also studying a 100% discount on Patrimony; or that of Madrid, with Isabel Díaz Ayuso at the helm, who has been leading the tax reduction speech in an eternal pulse against the Government. Mazón presented his own “tax revolution” a year ago, with proposals that include abolishing the Wealth Tax, discounting those of Inheritance and Donations to a greater degree or reducing the Property Transfer Tax and the regional section of Personal Income Tax. The tax cut is, in fact, one of the main axes on which the popular discourse pivots, with points in common with what Cs defends. Without room for manoeuvre from the opposition, the proposals are already launched in an electoral key.

Inflation and uncertainty encourage business operations in Alicante

With just a few days of difference, it has been known that three important companies in the province have changed or are about to change hands. If last Monday the purchase of Café Jurado by the Pascual Group was disclosed, this Thursday it was made public that two French multinationals, Peek a Boo and Edilians, finalise the acquisition of the manufacturer of childcare products Suavinex and the producer of roof tiles La Escandella, respectively.

And they are just the latest in an ever-longer list. Thus, this same month the Castellón firm of cardboard containers and packaging Grupo La Plana announced the purchase of the Crevillentin Envases Soler and shortly after it was the Magnum Capital fund that sold the Miranza group -the owner of the Vissum ophthalmological clinic- to the German Veonet.

Last June, this same fund sold its stake in the telecommunications company Grupo Aire to the French fund Ardian Buyout, while the García family transferred ownership of the pest control firm Lokímica to the multinational Rentokil. In addition, the nougat makers from Jijone, Sanchís Mira and Turrones Picó, joined forces to acquire Chocolates Clavileño, from La Vila.

Although the casuistry is very varied and includes, for example, the lack of generational change in some of these cases -such as those of La Escadella or Café Jurado-, the experts consulted agree that the economic situation, with skyrocketing costs and inflation , and a growing uncertainty is behind this proliferation of operations.

“There is a lot of liquidity in the markets and, with the current levels of inflation, the funds have the order to move the money, they cannot leave it still without investing,” says the CEO of the Alicante firm Devesa & Calvo, David Devesa, one of the most active in the mergers and acquisitions market in the province. In this way, in some cases the need to divest from some of these large financial firms -after having completed their cycle in the company’s shareholding- is combined with the need to seek a destination for their resources by others.

The poor economic outlook also plays a role. “We find some funds that have already achieved their profitability objective or with older owners, in the case of family businesses, who see what is coming and prefer to sell now that they can still do so at a price they consider appropriate,” says the partner of the firm Livingston Partners, Neil Collen.

In this sense, Collen acknowledges that in the sector it was expected that the deterioration of the situation would cause a drop in operations, but at the moment it seems that the opposite scenario is taking place. “In the sectors most affected by the rise in energy, some operations are being stopped, but in the rest, investors are looking at the ability to generate profit that these companies will have once the situation normalises or is assumed,” says Collen.

This rise in costs also favours many companies wanting to gain size to face the situation in better conditions, which is reflected in the fact that many of the buyers are industrial companies and from the same sector, as is the case with Suavinex, Café Jurado or La Escandella , as David Devesa points out. “You should not always think that you are looking for a cost cut when talking about synergies. On many occasions, the benefit can come from an improvement in sales, for example, if the buyer includes the products of the acquired company in their channels. of distribution, which reach more points”, points out, for his part, Collen.

Another factor is found in the lack of alternatives to invest in the financial markets, which leads to looking at the real economy in search of profitability that is not achieved in other ways, as explained by the managing partner of Gesem Consulting, Laura Vicente. A trend that, in the case of individuals, translates into greater investment in the real estate sector, and in the case of companies in entering businesses that are seen as having possibilities.

On the other hand, in recent years there has also been a certain change in mentality, accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, in the opinion of the CEO of Devesa & Calvo. “Before, it seemed taboo for an entrepreneur to sell the company, which was considered the job of a lifetime, but the new generations are more open and see it as a possibility to invest in other areas,” explains the lawyer.

From the perspective of the Family Business Association of the Province of Alicante (Aefa), its president, Maite Antón, considers it positive that these operations will allow the affected companies to continue, but she also regrets that their sale will mean that the decision centre moves away from the province and the roots that characterise family firms will be lost. “From the association we work so that, if the new generations do not want to participate in the management, they at least remain in the property as shareholders, because that proximity to the territory is important,” says Antón, who also insists on the need to eliminate obstacles at the time of the relief, such as the Inheritance Tax.

In any case, this week’s operations will not be the last, for sure. From Devesa & Calvo they point out that they are working on at least five other investments – although that does not mean that all of them end up materialising – and from Livingstone they have at least another couple. And those are just two examples.

The Water Institute proposes photovoltaic plants in the reservoirs to reduce electricity by 15%

A report from the Water Institute of the University of Alicante on the application of photovoltaic energy in the management of reservoirs, ponds and irrigation canals in the province, linked to the Tajo-Segura and Júcar-Vinalopó post-transfers, reveals that the Installation of solar plans floating on water would prevent water evaporation, a phenomenon triggered by heat waves, will reduce electricity bills by around 15% and would make it possible to cover 20% of energy costs with clean energy and own resources. This option, in full escalation of the electricity bill, quadrupled in the last twelve months, has had legal coverage since last May, thanks to a government decree to facilitate the installation of floating platforms in the hydraulic public domain.

The first initiative has begun to move in Campo de Elche with a project to install plates in a small reservoir in the Peña de las Águilas district. “The objective is to pump the water from the Crevillent reservoir during the day thanks to this energy and achieve savings of up to 80%. We are going to take advantage of a government subsidy on behalf of the Next Generation funds,” says Ángel Urbina, president of the irrigation community. The Marina Baja Water Consortium also requested permission to install a floating photovoltaic solar plant in the Guadalest reservoir, for self-consumption, since said reservoir is filled thanks to the wells in the region.

The Guadalest reservoir has high-quality water, an oligotrophic reservoir, because the water is injected through the facilities of the Marina Baja Water Consortium, through wells and pumps, which are practically in operation 24 hours a day. , 365 days a year for the use of the demand, mainly supply in the Marina Baixa region. The reservoir occupies an area of ​​67 hectares with a storage capacity of 13 hm3.

Remember, in this sense, that in recent months the cost of electricity has been out of control for Alicante farmers. A community of irrigators has gone from paying around 50,000 euros per light year in 2021 to 160,000 in 2022, according to calculations by the Central Board of Users of Júcar-Vinalopó and Scrats. The Generalitat supports the idea, according to Presidency sources.

The professor and director of the Institute, Joaquín Melgarejo, also points out that the cost of the investment is amortised over five years and stresses that this initiative would also contribute to preventing the formation of algae. Apart from the irrigation canals, the province has four large reservoirs, La Pedrera, Amadorio, Guadalest and Beniarrés, which occupy an area of ​​17 million square metres (1,700 hectares), of which 5.6 million could be installed (a third of the total) with a power of between 60 and 200 watts. At the provincial level, the only approximate medium-term initiative is the one launched by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, which has announced an investment of 70 million euros to incorporate photovoltaic energy for the operation of the Júcar-Vinalopó transfer.

The reservoirs can serve as warehouses to store the photovoltaic energy that can be produced during daylight hours by means of photovoltaic panels placed on the reservoirs, which are public domain, taking advantage of their horizontal surface, so that no new expropriations are necessary, nor the use of other storage surfaces. land that can be used for other uses, as explained by the engineer Francisco Javier Flores during the Albatera congress.

In this way, evaporation is reduced and, in addition, energy production can be made compatible with other uses, something that the scarcity of resources, until now, has not allowed. The studied procedure also makes it possible to increase the available resources and the regulation capacity of the reservoirs themselves, since with the pumping, downstream contributions from tributaries that are incorporated after the plant exit can be collected in the reservoir.

Irrigated agriculture has been developed in the area of ​​Spain where water is scarcer and for this reason it has also been the territory in which the productivity of the water obtained is higher, due to the proper use of irrigation water. If the increases in water availability should be applied as a priority where there are problems of scarcity and where the general interest is greater, there is no doubt that agriculture should also benefit.

Spanish regulations contemplate a maximum of three plants per reservoir and partial coverage depending on the trophic status of each one: the worse the quality of its waters, the greater its coverage. The maximum percentage of the total area covered will be limited to 5% if the reservoir is classified as mesotrophic, that is, if it has a moderate level of biological productivity; 15% if it is eutrophic (with a high biological productivity) and 20% if it is hypereutrophic (an even higher level of biological productivity). “Plants will not be installed in oligotrophic reservoirs (with low biological productivity and therefore good water quality), nor in lakes or lagoons of natural origin”, according to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, collected in a BBVA report

Floating solar panels use the same components as terrestrial ones. The only difference lies in their fixing structure, made up of floating systems anchored with weights at the bottom, which allows a minimum movement, necessary for the installation to move with the flow. water, which rises and falls in level continuously.

The design of the photovoltaic solar installation is constituted by the repetition of the field of solar panels that feed an inverter from direct current to alternating current. In this way, the basic unit of modules that feed the inverter is determined, and this basic unit is replicated as many times as the amount of energy to be produced.

The field of solar modules that feed the inverter is dimensioned by defining the number of modules in series on each line, so that each solar module increases the voltage of the direct current on the line. And on the other hand, the number of lines in parallel that increases the intensity of direct current that reaches the inverter.

The number of modules in series and the number of lines in parallel is determined to optimise the operation of the inverter within its operating window and guarantee its safety. For this, the extreme conditions of the weather and solar radiation are considered, since in cold conditions the voltage in the solar modules increases and this can cause the maximum allowable voltage for the inverter to be exceeded. Similarly, in clear day conditions the irradiance is greater and this produces a greater continuous electrical current that can exceed the maximum intensity allowed in the inverter.

Since January 1st, more GWh have been generated in Spain than in all of last year with photovoltaics (20,954 GWh), so we have a new record. To put this figure in context, it is more than double what was generated in 2019 and almost triple what was generated in 2018. Indeed, heat is not the best ally of solar panels, since they begin to lose efficiency and it is not about that the sun is scorching, but of hours of solar radiation. One factor that undoubtedly explains this increase in production is the increase in installed capacity.

A 56-year-old woman was injured in a car accident on the AP-7 in Catral

A 56-year-old woman has been transferred to the General University Hospital of Alicante after suffering an accident on the AP-7 Alicante-Cartagena, at kilometre 736, in the municipality of Catral. According to sources from the Generalitat Emergency Coordination Centre (CICU) and the Provincial Firefighters Consortium, at around eleven o’clock in the morning yesterday, the vehicle, in which the driver and a minor were travelling, left the road and remained dumped between the shoulder and the embankment of a storm drain.

The two occupants of the car have been trapped inside. Firefighters from Crevillent, Elche and Almoradí have carried out the release work that has lasted for almost two hours. The Urgent Medical Care Service has stabilised the woman for the helicopter transfer.

The CICU has mobilised a SAMU unit, an SVB unit and the medical helicopter based in the province. The SAMU medical team has stabilised a 59-year-old woman, who presented with polytrauma, before transferring her by helicopter to the hospital.

The accident has forced to interrupt traffic on the highway to allow the landing and takeoff of the helicopter

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