Italian finance minister says budget bill open to discussion

Grilli says changes could be possible to Stability Law

Italian finance minister says budget bill open to discussion

(ANSA) - Rome, October 18 - Changes are still possible to Italy's budget bill, Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said Thursday. "We have said from the start that this is a draft bill; it is a proposal and we are open to change," Grilli told television outlet Tg1. "We will discuss it in parliament, and if we arrive at a different concept, we could do that". However, Grilli defended the government's plan to boost the VAT by 1% and as well as reductions to tax breaks as both measures will yield more revenues for empty government coffers. Earlier this week, the government proposed a budget bill called the Stability Law which included a retroactive reduction to tax deductions as well as a 1% increase in the VAT in the second half of next year. The VAT is currently 21% on most sales. According to Grilli, the proposed tax changes seem "the best composition" of measures to yield an extra 1.6 billion euros for the government. Premier Mario Monti has stressed that the budget measures contained in the Stability Law do not amount to another austerity package like the tax hikes and spending cuts his emergency government passed last year to put Italy on course to balancing its budget in structural terms next year. But they still feature new cuts, including a reduction of over one billion euros In health spending.

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