Category: Basque fiscal system

Boise and Bilbao: Two Boomtowns

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A recent report by the Idaho Statesman looks at the links between two boomtowns, Boise and Bilbao. The visit of a Basque delegation, led by Basque President Iñigo Urkullu, to Idaho last year enhanced the historic connection between the two regions. There have been economic ties between the city of Boise and the Basque Country since the nineteenth century, when the burgeoning sheep industry in Idaho increased the need for talented sheepherders from the Basque Country. A century later, these connections were still evident through cultural events such as the Basque Soccer Friendly and Jaialdi in 2016, celebrating the Basque heritage and culture. These events only served to take the exisitng economic and cultural exchange to new heights.
Bilbao. Pasarela del Campo de Volant’n o Zubizuri y las torres P

This year, a business delegation from the Basque province of Bizkaia visited Boise to renew the economic and cultural partnership between Boise and Bilbao. According to Asier Alea Castaños, General Manager of Trade Promotion for the Bizkaian Government, at present over a million people reside in Greater Bilbao with a GDP per capita reaching 122 percent of the European Union (EU) average. Bizkaia’s economic competitive advantage is backed by higher education institutions that rank higher than the rest of Europe in terms of research and development. And this Bizkaian economic and technological edge, coupled with the existing links between the two cities, provides the Boise business community with huge opportunities.
traveling-to-boise

Boise has itself experienced technological booms in recent years with high-tech projects such as Trailgead poised to attract investment from the Basque Country. With a cost of doing business only one-third of that in California or Washington, Boise can be an attractive investment option for Basque investors.

Boise has extensive business clusters in software, environmental technology, advanced energy, hi-tech manufacturing, hardware assembly, national call centers, and agricultural technology. And Boise’s comprehensive business cluster complements that of some of the main industries in and around Bilbao such as the aeronautic, automotive, electronic, information technology, energy, and maritime sectors. It would appear, then, that there are multiple opportunities for new links to be developed between these two Basque boomtowns.

Read the full article here.

The Center has published several books on the Basque economy. For a general introduction, see Basque Economy from Industrialization to Globalization by Mikel Uranga, free to download here.

Tow other works address innovation policies in the Basque Country:

Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera, free to download here.

And Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos, available free to download here.

For some general historical background on the particular tax and finance system that so defines the particularity of the Basque Country, see Basque Fiscal Systems: History, Current Status, and Future Perspectives, edited by Joseba Agirreazkuenaga and Eduardo Alonso Olea.

Another key feature of the Basque economy in recent years has been its urban transformation. This process is examined in Transforming Cities: Opportunities and Challenges of Urban Regeneration in the Basque Country, edited by Arantxa Rodríguez and Joseba Juaristi.

And for a wonderful monograph of one of the most controversial economic issues in the Basque Country today, namely the plans for a new high-speed rail network to create a single interconnected “Basque city,” check out Building the Basque City: The Political Economy of Nation-Building, by Nagore Calvo Mendizabal.

 

Center hosts fiscal systems conference in conjunction with the Bizkaia government

Xabier Irujo presents Nieves Pereda, who spoke to the conference on economic theories of fiscal federalism.

On Monday, April 11, the Center hosted a one-day conference on  an international approach to the Basque fiscal system. The conference featured presentations by Mehmet Tosun, the chair of the economics faculty at the UNR College of Business, Gemma Martínez, tax policy senior manager for the province of Bizkaia, Nieves Pereda, deputy director of tax collection for the province of Bizkaia, and Mikel Erkoreka, a doctoral candidate. The conference focused on principles and challenges of “fiscal federalism.”

We were lucky enough to have Gemma with us in 2015, and Nieves is here in 2016, due to an agreement between UNR and the government of Bizkaia that has the common objective of promoting and disseminating research in the international arena on the economic agreement in the Basque Country and its relationship with the current federal tax systems in the United States.

 

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Gemma Martínez presented on principles and fundamentals of the US and Basque fiscal systems.

Readers interested in learning more about this subject should check out Basque Fiscal Sytems: History, Current Status, and Future Perspectives, edited by another recent visiting scholar and friend of the Center, Joseba Aguirreazkuenaga, together with Eduardo Alonso Olea.

New CBS visitor from the Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia-Diputación Foral de Bizkaia

This month we welcome our second visitor from the Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia-Diputación Foral de Bizkaia (the Provincial Council of Bizkaia), Nieves Pereda Chavárri.  In order to find out more , check out my interview below with Nieves:

Where are you from in the Basque Country, Nieves?

I come from Bilbao, in Basque Country. I have been working for the Tax Department of Bizkaia (one of the seven Basque provinces) for more than 30 years. Currently I am in charge of the tax collection area and I mainly manage bankruptcy procedures, installment payments, as well as tax levy and lien procedures.

Our department tries to help pay taxes for those who want to and tries to act very fast against those who don’t want to pay them… I am totally in favor of our financial system called “Basque Economic Agreement,” that is, a fiscal pact between the Basque Autonomous Community and Spanish state in order to collect our own taxes and to finance our public expenses (mainly education, health, police, roads, and social welfare as well as local services as well) and to pay the proportional part of  the expenses related to goods and services provided by central Spanish government (via a cupo or quota). In 2014, UNR (the CBS) and the Tax Department of Bizkaia signed an agreement to collaborate in the promotion of Basque Economic Agreement. Two tax workers would visit UNR for 80 days to research on U.S fiscal federalism and the Basque Economic Agreement. The first person, Gemma Martinez Barbara, came last year and this year it has been my opportunity. Our Tax Department thinks it is important to let others know about our specific tax system. It can be described like a desirable integration between different tax jurisdictions.

And how long will you be here?  

I’ll be here till April 21st.  On April 11th we´ll have an event to speak about our papers.

What things would you like to accomplish/see while here in Reno/U.S?

For me the most important thing is to know how the CBS works, what they do, and to meet people there. I feel really interested in learning more about the importance and the influence of Basque people in the background of Nevada. I would like to visit some beautiful places around Reno and to know a little bit more about life in the university. I already had some opportunities; for example, last Friday in a meeting with the Provost and teachers at the university.

Tell us about your yourself-family, what Basque town you grew up in or where you live now in the Basque Country, what you like to do in free time, etc.?  

I was born in Bilbao and live there. My family comes from Bizkaia and Nafarroa. The thing I enjoy doing the most is spending time with friends and family–we usually have two or three special meals a week. I also love to invite friends home. In summer time I like traveling, sailing, and spending extra time with friends in the countryside. In general I am interested in reading, listening to music, and walking for a while everyday.

We welcome Nieves to the CBS family and are grateful to have her here!

 

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2015 Books Round-up V: Basque Politics and Art

Finally in our round-up of the books published by the CBS in 2015, we come to a couple of works that address the subject of politics, with one discussing the fascinating topic of politics as a means of advancing the notion of sustainable human development; and the other exploring how art and politics intersect, with a special emphasis on the Basque Country.

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The Basque Experience: Constructing Sustainable Human Development, by Juan Jose Ibarretxe.

This book by the former lehendakari  (Basque president) Ibarretxe provides an incisive analysis of the legal-political and socioeconomic aspects that have made of Basque society a sustainable human development. More specifically, Ibarretxe traces such development from the post-Franco recovery of self-government via the Statute of Gernika in the 1980s up to today, and specifically in the period between 1988 and 2008. He focuses on the three relevant but traditionally unrelated fields of economics, social balance, and peacemaking. The research identifies the key factors that made it possible for the Basque Country to become one of the leading nations in the Human Development Index (2007): specifically, resilience in the face of an ongoing political conflict dating back to the 19th century exacerbated by the violence of ETA since the mid-20th century. It is Ibarretxe’s contention that these factors and the lessons learned could be of particular relevance to other countries facing serious challenges and aiming to achieve sustainable human development within the context of their own cultures.

beyond guernica guggenheim

Beyond Guernica and the Guggenheim: Art and Politics from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Zoe Bray.

The book is the result of a conference on Basque art and politics from a comparative perspective. It brings together specialists from the fields of sociology, anthropology, art history, and art criticism. Part 1, on Valuing Art, concerns the question of who, how, and what value is given to art, and how this may change over time and circumstance. Part 2, on Artistic Political Engagement, reflects on how artists may be intentionally engaged with politics, either via their social and political status and/or through the kind of art they produce and how they frame it in terms of meaning. Part 3, on Exhibitions and Curating, focuses on the relationship between art and politics: what gets exhibited, why, how, and with what political significance or consequence. The book is unique in gathering a rich variety of different viewpoints and experiences, with experts from different fields talking to each other with sometimes quite different approaches.

Gemma Martinez Interviewed in Deia

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Gemma Martinez and friend enjoy a sunny day on the banks of the Truckee River near Reno.

On May 25, in a two-page long interview by the Bilbao daily Deia, Gemma Martinez discussed her research at the Center for Basque Studies. Having spent three months at the CBS, she just returned home. Gemma is in charge of fiscal policy at the Provincial Council of Bizkaia. The interview discusses her research on the comparisons between the Basque and U.S. fiscal systems. Before leaving, Kate Camino and Manny Villanueva hosted a party for her, attended by the Center’s faculty and students. She plans to be back next year for the conference on Basque fiscal systems. We will miss her.

See the full interview (in Spanish) here.

The Basque Country has, historically, enjoyed a special fiscal status within Spain. This allows the individual Basque provinces to raise their own taxes before jointly negotiating an amount to pay to central government in Madrid. To read more on this special status, which has been described as fiscal federalism, see Basque Fiscal Systems: History, Current Status, and Future Perspectives, edited by Joseba Aggireazkuenaga and Eduardo Alonso Olea.