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Restoring Fiscal Sustainability in Spain

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  • Pierre Beynet
  • Andrés Fuentes
  • Robert Gillingham
  • Robert P. Hagemann

Abstract

Spain’s government has introduced ambitious consolidation measures, which should yield a sizeable improvement in discretionary fiscal efforts. Should budgetary outcomes fall short of targets, the government should stand ready to introduce further measures, as announced. Such measures could include subjecting more goods and services to the standard value added tax rate. They could also be used to fund a reduction in some social security contributions paid by employers. Once sufficient progress towards fiscal consolidation has been achieved, a further reform of the tax system towards more growth-friendly taxes should be contemplated. Spain also faces a dramatic increase in ageing-related public spending, mostly on account of pensions. The pension reform plan is welcome, but further reforms in the pension system will be necessary to contain expenditure growth. Rules on the budget balances for each level of government should be reviewed so as to induce regional governments to run larger budget surpluses when activity exceeds potential. Rétablir la viabilité budgétaire en Espagne Le gouvernement espagnol a introduit des mesures d’assainissement budgétaire ambitieuses qui devraient produire une amélioration importante des efforts budgétaires discrétionnaires. Dans le cas où les objectifs budgétaires ne seraient pas atteints, les autorités devront se tenir prêtes, comme annoncé, à prendre des mesures supplémentaires, qui pourraient consister à assujettir davantage de produits et de services au taux ordinaire de la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée. Ces mesures pourraient aussi servir à financer la réduction d’une partie des cotisations patronales de sécurité sociale. Une fois la consolidation budgétaire suffisamment avancée, une nouvelle réforme du système fiscal devra être envisagée en vue de mettre davantage l’accent sur les impôts qui favorisent la croissance. L’Espagne se trouve aussi confrontée à une augmentation spectaculaire des dépenses publiques liées au vieillissement, due pour l’essentiel aux retraites. Le plan de réforme des retraites va dans le bon sens mais des réformes plus poussées du système de retraite seront nécessaires pour contenir l’accroissement des dépenses. Il conviendrait de revoir les règles relatives aux soldes budgétaires des différents niveaux d’administration afin d’inciter les autorités régionales à dégager des excédents budgétaires plus importants lorsque l’activité économique est supérieure au potentiel.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 850.

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Date of creation: 18 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:850-en

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Keywords: taxation; fiscal policy; pension reform; fiscal sustainability; Spain; fiscal federalism; discretionary fiscal effort; fiscalité; Espagne; effort budgétaire discrétionnaire; réforme des retraites; fédéralisme budgétaire; viabilité budgétaire; politique budgétaire;

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