PdL asks for extension of budget stability law, PD refuses

Passage of bill marks end of parliament session

PdL asks for extension of budget stability law, PD refuses

Rome, December 18 - The centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party asked Tuesday for more time to examine Italy's stability pact, triggering a sharp refusal from the centre-left. The Democratic Party's (PD) secretary Pier Luigi Bersani accused the PdL of trying to use Parliament and its crucial budget debate to buy time to solve its own, internal struggles. "They can not use the Parliament, the law of stability for their problems." The PdL, founded by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, has been in turmoil as efforts to find a new leader were abruptly upturned when Berlusconi recently announced his plans to return to active politics. Fabrizio Cicchitto of the PdL denied the PD's accusation, saying "we're going to take all the time necessary to examine well the measures," contained in the stability law. The Senate budget committee said it planned to continue meeting through the evening to resolve debate on numerous amendments to the budget bill. The bill passed three confidence votes in the House before arriving in the Senate. Before it was approved, politicians were able to tack on two provisos, one requiring the government to promote the Italian language abroad, and another requiring them to "consider broadening the base on taxable income" for the Tobin Tax, which applies to investment transactions and is predicted to bring in 1.1 billion euros. The bill's other provisions include increasing VAT by 1% starting in the second half of 2013 for the VAT sales bracket of 21%, and a retroactive reduction of tax deductions, making it necessary for taxpayers or tax-paying entities to cough up payments on past filings. Premier Mario Monti has said 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.

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