If you walk out on the street any day of the week and look around, the first thing you see are people; people who wear clothes, eat food, live in different types of home, receive an education and pay their taxes... You'll also see companies, shops, offices, transport services, etc. that allow us to have clothes, food and many other things. And finally, you'll find the "Public Sector" services offered by health centres, schools, sports complexes, the town hall, etc. which meet our basic needs and make our lives better.
People, companies and the public sector are the protagonists of the economy and life.
The public sector has an important role to play in economic activity; among other functions, it is responsible for setting the "game rules" for business and at the same time, for promoting the distribution of wealth through taxes, distribution of spending, laws, public bodies, etc.
The public sector consists of government, autonomous bodies and publicly-owned companies, and its aim is: to achieve the highest level of quality of life possible for the whole of society, by taking the necessary decisions.
This is what the public institutions do, here in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (municipal authorities, provincial governments and the Basque government), and also in Spain and the European Union.
Most of the public services we receive in Gipuzkoa are provided by the government of the autonomous community. However, there are other services, which lie outside the powers allocated to the autonomous community, or which have yet to be transferred and which are provided by the Spanish state (e.g. defence, customs control, etc.), or the European Union (e.g. monetary policy). Spending on public services that have not been transferred are financed by the Basque Autonomous Community, through the payment of an amount of money known as the ‘Quota' [Cupo].
The financial and tax-paying relationship between the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country and the Spanish state is governed by the Economic Accord [Concierto Económico]. This is based, on the one hand, on Additional Provision 1 of the Spanish Constitution; which states that the Constitution offers protection and respect to the historical rights of the 'foral' territories. At the same time, Organic Law 3/1979, which establishes the Statute of Autonomy of the autonomous community of the Basque Country, recognises that the institutions of the Historical Territories have the capacity to establish, maintain and regulate their own tax system.
For this reason, the provincial (territorial) governments have full capacity to manage, regulate, inspect and collect the taxes of their specific territory. Nonetheless, they must respect the coordination, harmonisation and other shared regulations in the area of taxes.
For this reason, all taxes, except those managed by municipal authorities, are collected by the provincial governments.