Portimão mayoress Isilda Gomes is once again in the hot seat for her council’s unexpected plan to revoke the town’s reviled civil protection tax.
While everyone is happy to see the tax go, opposition parties say the decision was made merely to promote the Socialist Party (PS) before the looming October 4 elections.
Going by the name of “Servir Portimão”, the coalition of councillors explains there has always been “an intransigent attitude and strong desire” to stick with what it called “an illegal tax”.
Suddenly, “for unfathomable reasons”, mayoress Isilda Gomes has realised that charging it is not essential, it adds.
“This means either the council’s accounts are fantastic or – more likely – the mayoress lied about the tax” in the first place, claims the coalition.
Servir Portimão – made up of CDS-PP/PPM and independent councilors – suggests Gomes is “more worried about the legislative elections and its potential effects than the future of Portimão and its people”.
The council’s Left Bloc (BE) has joined the fray, alleging “party political tactics”.
Led by anti-tolls campaigner João Vasconcelos, the party is pushing for money made from the tax – believed to be well over €700,000 – to be returned to people forthwith, with the council to agree to stop trying to squeeze payment from inhabitants that have so far refused to pay it.
Portimão’s left-wingers have also criticised the government for rejecting a proposal to “ban the creation of local taxes” by borough councils.
Nonetheless, the party – like everyone else – is celebrating what looks like the end of the much-maligned tax.
“We are proud to have been at the forefront of the fight,” its statement concluded.