General Budget and Budgetary Plan for 2023: A comprehensive analysis
Fecha: noviembre 2022
Santiago Lago Peñas
While the 2023 Budget presented in early October is a vital document, the 2023 Plan presented to the European Commission one week later provides a more holistic approach for an analysis that takes into account upcoming fiscal measures designed to help vulnerable households and firms, which are set to have a material impact on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the budget equation. Indeed, the 2023 Budget starts from a 2022 tax revenue forecast clearly below the level derived by extrapolating tax collection figures available to date, which means that the rate of growth in tax revenues needed to deliver the forecast contemplated in this document will be much lower. Given that the government continues to target an overall public deficit of 3.9% in 2023, the figure established in the 2022-2025 Stability Programme presented last spring, the required deficit reduction will be much smaller, around one third of the initially contemplated amount. In short, per the 2023 Budget, there is little justification for concern over its consistency and sharply expansionary nature, failure to comply with the CSR or any mismatch between public spending and revenue. The healthy momentum in tax revenue in 2022 means the deficit and tax collection targets for 2023 are very modest and achievable, even if the macroeconomic situation ends up far worse than the government is forecasting. Nonetheless, the 2023 Budget is undermined by its omission of the fiscal package to be deployed in 2023 in response to the energy and inflation crisis which means that a more accurate assessment of the state of Spain’s public finances in 2023 ultimately depends on the details of this package and its estimated cost. The probability of an economic downturn and the potential for a greater gap between revenues and costs thus calls for a highly selective package of additional fiscal measures to allow for some discretionary measures in case new needs emerge over the coming quarters.