Spain 1978 Constitution (reviewed 2011)

Table of Contents

PART VII. Economy and Finance

Section 128

  1. The entire wealth of the country in its different forms, irrespective of ownership, shall be subordinated to the general interest.
  2. Public initiative in economic activity is recognized. Essential resources or services may be reserved by law to the public sector especially in the case of monopolies. Likewise, State intervention in companies may be imposed when the public interest so demands.

Section 129

  1. The law shall establish the forms of participation of the persons concerned in Social Security and in the activities of those public bodies whose operation directly affects quality of life or general welfare.
  2. The public authorities shall efficiently promote the various forms of participation in the enterprise and shall encourage cooperative societies by means of appropriate legislation.They shall also establish means to facilitate access by workers to ownership of the means of production.

Section 130

  1. The public authorities shall promote the modernization and development of all economic sectors and, in particular, of agriculture, livestock raising, fishing and handicrafts, in order to bring the standard of living of all Spaniards up to the same level.
  2. For the same purpose, special treatment shall be given to mountain areas.

Section 131

  1. The State shall be empowered to plan general economic activity by an act in order to meet collective needs, to balance and harmonize regional and sectorial development and to stimulate the growth of income and wealth and their more equitable distribution.
  2. The Government shall draft planning projects in accordance with forecasts supplied by Self-governing Communities and with the advice and cooperation of unions and other professional, employers’ and financial organizations. A council shall be set up for this purpose, whose membership and duties shall be laid down by the law.

Section 132

  1. The law shall lay down the rules governing public and communal property, on the basis that it shall be inalienable, exempt from prescription and cannot be attached under any circumstances, and it shall also provide for the case of disaffectation from public purpose.
  2. The goods of the State’s public property shall be that established by law and shall, in any case, include the foreshore beaches, territorial waters and the natural resources of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.
  3. The State’s Domain and the National Heritage, as well as their administration, protection and preservation, shall be regulated by law.

Section 133

  1. The primary power to raise taxes is vested exclusively in the State by means of law.
  2. Self-governing Communities and local Corporations may impose and levy taxes, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
  3. Any fiscal benefit affecting State taxes must be established by virtue of law.
  4. Public Administrations may only contract financial liabilities and incur expenditures in accordance with the law.

Section 134

  1. It is incumbent upon the Government to draft the State Budget and upon the Cortes Generales to examine, amend and adopt it.
  2. The State Budget shall be drafted annually and shall include the entire expenditure and income of the State public sector and a specific mention shall be made of the amount of the fiscal benefits affecting State taxes.
  3. The Government must submit the draft State Budget to the Congress at least three months before the expiration of that of the previous year.
  4. If the Budget Bill is not passed before the first day of the corresponding financial year, the Budget of the previous financial year shall be automatically extended until the new one is approved.
  5. Once the Budget Bill has been adopted, the Government may submit bills involving increases in public expenditure or decreases in the revenue corresponding to the same financial year.
  6. Any non-governmental bill or amendment which involves an increase in appropriations or a decrease in budget revenue shall require previous approval by the Government before its passage.
  7. The Budget Act may not establish new taxes. It may modify them, wherever a tax law of a substantive nature so provides.

Section 135

  1. All public administrations will conform to the principle of budgetary stability.
  2. The State and the Self-governing Communities may not incur a structural deficit that exceeds the limits established by the European Union for their member states.An Organic Act shall determine the maximum structural deficit the state and the Self-governing Communities may have, in relation to its gross domestic product. Local authorities must submit a balanced budget.
  3. The State and the Self-governing Communities must be authorized by Act in order to issue Public Debt bonds or to contract loans.Loans to meet payment on the interest and capital of the State’s Public Debt shall always be deemed to be included in budget expenditure and their payment shall have absolute priority. These appropriations may not be subject to amendment or modification as long as they conform to the terms of issue.

    The volume of public debt of all the public administrations in relation to the State’ gross domestic product may not exceed the benchmark laid down by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

  4. The limits of the structural deficit and public debt volume may be exceeded only in case of natural disasters, economic recession or extraordinary emergency situations that are beyond the control of the State and significantly impair either the financial situation or the economic or social sustainability of the State, as appreciated by an absolute majority of the members of the Congress of Deputies.
  5. An Organic Act shall develop the principles referred to in this article, as well as participation in the respective procedures of the organs of institutional coordination between government fiscal policy and financial support. In any case, the Organic Act shall address:
    1. The distribution of the limits of deficit and debt among the different public administrations, the exceptional circumstances to overcome them and the manner and time in which to correct the deviations on each other.
    2. The methodology and procedure for calculating the structural deficit.
    3. The responsibility of each public administration in case of breach of budgetary stability objectives.
  6. The Self-governing Communities, in accordance with their respective laws and within the limits referred to in this article, shall take the appropriate procedures for effective implementation of the principle of stability in their rules and budgetary decisions.

Section 136

  1. The Auditing Court is the supreme body charged with auditing the State’s accounts and financial management, as well as those of the public sector.It shall be directly accountable to the Cortes Generales and shall discharge its duties by delegation of the same when examining and verifying the General State Accounts.
  2. The State Accounts and those of the State’s public sector shall be submitted to the Auditing Court and shall be audited by the latter.The Auditing Court, without prejudice to its own jurisdiction, shall send an annual report to the Cortes Generales informing them, where applicable, of any infringements that may, in its opinion, have been committed, or any liabilities that may have been incurred.
  3. Members of the Auditing Court shall enjoy the same independence and fixity of tenure and shall be subject to the same incompatibilities as judges.
  4. An organic act shall make provision for membership, organization and duties of the Auditing Court.