Ex-PM Berlusconi calls for tax cuts to 'shock' Italian economy

May 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM
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ROME, May 31 (UPI) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Friday called for tax cuts to provide a "positive shock" to the country's economy.

He called on Prime Minister Enrico Letta to abolish a newly instituted property tax and a value-added tax, lower the tax rate and reform the state tax collection agency, ANSA reported.

"We are supporting the government with conviction, but now all Italians are waiting for the outcome of the economy test," Berlusconi said. "We are pushing and insisting on a positive shock that could serve the economy."

Berlusconi's People of Freedom party is in a parliamentary coalition with the rival Democratic Party.

Letta pledged Friday his government would stay within its budget as it develops a plan to fight unemployment among Italian youth.

The plan will allow the country to remain within budget and below a 3 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, the prime minister said during meetings with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The European Commission this week recommended ending a procedure under which Italy is penalized for excessive debt, after Rome forecast its budget deficit ratio will fall to 2.9 percent, below the 3 percent ratio allowed by the European Union.

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