ECONOMY

Budget black hole reaches 5.2 bln

The disappointing amount of public revenues in the first half of the year makes any execution of the forecast budget virtually impossible. Data from the state’s General Accounting Office published yesterday showed that net revenues in the January-June period came to just 22.19 billion euros, that is 3.3 percent less than last year, while the annual target had been for revenue growth of 14.76 percent. As a result, the drop in revenues amounts to 4.15 billion euros. Revenues before the filing of tax returns showed a smaller reduction than that of net revenues, as tax returns have been rushed in order to add cash to the market. Revenues contracted by 0.7 percent on an annual basis, against a target for 13.9 percent growth. At the same time, primary spending and interest payments reached 34.17 billion euros, a rise of 13.3 percent against a target of 9.77 percent, an excess of 1.1 billion euros. Consequently the black hole in the budget at the end of June was calculated at over 5.2 billion euros. The government expects the deficit to drop by about 4.8 billion euros by the end of the year, thanks to receipts from the single property tax for 2008 and 2009, the extraordinary levy on incomes that exceed 60,000 euros a year, the special tax on big cars and private recreational vessels, the rise in fuel consumption tax, the levy on cell phones and games of chance as well as an increase in monitoring to catch tax evaders.