Spain Criticized For Giving Tax Break For Pope's Visit Many Spaniards are grumbling at the cost of their government's red carpet welcome for Pope Benedict, who heads to Madrid next week for World Youth Day. Local priests have issued a rare complaint about tax breaks offered to the event's corporate sponsors. The Spanish government is paying millions for the pope's security, at a time when it's also slashing public salaries and the education budget.
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Spain Criticized For Giving Tax Break For Pope's Visit

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Spain Criticized For Giving Tax Break For Pope's Visit

Spain Criticized For Giving Tax Break For Pope's Visit

Spain Criticized For Giving Tax Break For Pope's Visit

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/139570724/139570772" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Many Spaniards are grumbling at the cost of their government's red carpet welcome for Pope Benedict, who heads to Madrid next week for World Youth Day. Local priests have issued a rare complaint about tax breaks offered to the event's corporate sponsors. The Spanish government is paying millions for the pope's security, at a time when it's also slashing public salaries and the education budget.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

LAUREN FRAYER: More than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit.

JULIO SAAVEDRA: (Spanish spoken)

FRAYER: Chusa Gallego is a nurse who just took a 15 percent pay cut. She questions the timing of the pope's visit, given the cost.

CHUSA GALLEGO: Why now? Now that everybody is living with 500, 600 euros per month?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RINGING)

FRAYER: For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer, in Madrid.

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