Berlusconi warns property tax is deal breaker for govt

Letta has pledged to suspend June payments

Berlusconi warns property tax is deal breaker for govt

Rome, April 30 - Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday that scrapping the widely despised IMU property tax and returning the revenues from 2012 were necessary for his People of Freedom (PdL) party to keep supporting Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government. Letta said June's IMU payments would be suspended before his executive won a confidence vote in the House on Monday with the support of his own centre-left Democratic Party (PD), as well as the PdL and his predecessor Mario Monti's Civic Choice party. But Letta has not said that the tax will be abolished completely. "I'm confident it will be abolished and the money (from 2012) returned," Berlusconi said ahead of the second confidence vote Letta's government needs to pass, this time in the Senate, to take over the reins of power after two months of post-election deadlock. "We won't support a government that does not implement these measures. We took up a commitment with the voters in the election campaign and we want to maintain it". Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio said earlier on Tuesday that June's IMU payments would be suspended while the government moved to "lighten it for the less well-off". IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under Monti's emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy's public finances. Berlusconi's 2008-2011 government scrapped a similar tax. Abolishing IMU and reimbursing the 2012 revenues from it would create a hole of around eight billion euros in this year's budget.

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