Merkel government's first budget gets good mark from Parliament

Merkel government's first budget gets good mark from Parliament
Merkel government's first budget gets good mark from Parliament

Lawmakers in the lower house voted 409-149 in favor of the budget, which calls for spending US$330 billion a slight rise from last year's total of Ђ 259.8 billion.

Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck described it as a "transitional budget" on the road toward getting Germany's budget deficit within a European Union-imposed limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product next year.

The government hopes to get the long-sluggish economy moving before raising the value-added tax to 19 percent from 16 percent in January, a key part of efforts to tackle the budget deficit but a move that also is expected to weigh on growth, the AP reports.

This year's budget foresees net new borrowing of some US$48.2 billion well above last year's Ђ 31.2 billion.