ND proposes 0.5% of 2016's primary budget surplus to offset other taxes; fund pre-schools




Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Wednesday tabled an amendment in Parliament prescribing the immediate distribution of a portion of the primary budget surplus recorded in 2016, a day after a draft omnibus bill that includes a latest round of austerity measures was submitted by the
Greek coalition government.
The omnibus bill is scheduled for a vote in a Parliament plenary session on Thursday. The main highlights are pension cuts in 2019 and a lowering of the tax-free annual income threshold as of 2020, to roughly 5,600 euros. Other reforms towards a more market-friendly economy are also envisioned -- mostly creditors' demands that Athens meets fiscal targets at least until 2021.
ND's amendment, which is not expected to pass, proposes that roughly 865 million euros, or 0.5 percent of 2016's budget surplus (as a percentage of GDP), be used to fund more spots for children at public pre-schools around the country. The center-right party also called for the surplus to offset an unpopular surcharge slapped on wine production in the country, a measure taken in 2016.
ND also called for a lowering of the property tax (ENFIA) and a reduced VAT rate for agricultural supplies to 13 percent, from the current 23 percent. The latter is a measure also proposed by the government.  
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