National Assembly adopts 2007 budget

20th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 19, 2006 (AFP) - The French assembly on Tuesday passed the government's budget for 2007, registering a slight dip in the deficit, a boost in the tax break for the newly employed, and increased pensions for war veterans from France's former colonies.

PARIS, Dec 19, 2006 (AFP) - The French assembly on Tuesday passed the government's budget for 2007, registering a slight dip in the deficit, a boost in the tax break for the newly employed, and increased pensions for war veterans from France's former colonies.

Next year's government deficit was set to drop from EUR 42.4 billion in 2006 to EUR 41.9 billion. The one-time tax break for the newly employed — whether first-time job seekers or those rejoining the work force — will jump from EUR 714 to EUR 948.

Feeling the pressure of looming general elections early next year, the government was eager to hand in a disciplined budget that nonetheless showed it was attuned to social needs.

The ruling conservative UMP party even shied away from one of its most frequently visited battle fronts, France's stiff inheritance tax, soft-peddling its objections in the pre-vote debate to avoid giving the opposition "a stick to beat us with," commented one deputy.

The UMP carried the budget through both houses on its own, as the centrist UDF voted against in the assembly and was largely absent from the vote in the upper-house senate.

Leftist deputies also voted against the budget, denouncing what they characterized as policies that "favor the richest French," in the words of Socialist senator Marc Massion.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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