Bulgaria's parliament approves draft 2012 budget law in first reading.

By bne IntelliNews November 17, 2011
The parliament approved in first reading the draft budget law for next year as the document was supported by 127 of the lawmakers (ruling centre-right CEDB and independent), 82 voted against it and no one abstained, investor.bg informs. The present deputies from the socialist BSP, the ethnic MRF, the rightist Blue Coalition and the nationalist Attack voted against, in line with their earlier announcements. The government will target a budget deficit of 1.35% of the projected full-year GDP next year, down from 2.5% and 1.5% this year and next year, respectively, planned in the midterm framework. Consolidated government expenditures (including the contribution to the EU budget) are projected to rise by 5.9% to BGN 29.8bn (EUR 15.2bn) or 36.5% of GDP as compared to 36.8% of GDP this year. Total revenues are projected to amount to BGN 28.7bn, up by 9.6%. The government does not plan to change direct tax rates but will increase the excise taxes on some goods to the minimum EU levels and will introduce excise tax on natural gas sales. The government forecasts 2.9% economic growth next year speeding slightly from 2.8% this year but has based budget revenues projection on GDP growth of just 1%. Finance minister Simeon Dyankov has said that the budget might be revised into more conservative one as a result of the newly released EC forecast for 0.6% GDP growth of the EU 27 as compared to 1.9% in the previous forecast. The parliament should pass the budget law in second and final reading in order the document to enter into force.

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