AUSTERITY POLICIES

Andalusia and Catalonia announce new cuts to curtail deficits

Premier Mas maintains legal challenge to central government’s austerity decrees

The regional governments of Catalonia and Andalusia on Tuesday announced billions of euros in immediate cutbacks aimed at reducing their budget deficits, including lower government employee salaries and freezing public works projects.

Catalan premier Artur Mas of the center-right nationalist CiU bloc said his government would for now follow decrees issued by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy calling for deep cuts in health and education, but he would continue with his plans to challenge them before the Constitutional Court. Mas did not detail exactly where the region would make cuts to save some 1.5 billion euros this year, but said subsidies to public firms would be reduced.

In Andalusia, economic commissioner Carmen Martínez Aguayo announced the quota corresponding to the region from income taxes would be hiked by one percentage point on salaries between 60,000 and 120,000 euros. Paycuts for Andalusian government workers would also be imposed immediately, including trimming June’s bonus by up to 30 percent.

The regional government in Seville said it would also be challenging the central administration’s austerity impositions.

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