December 28, 2017 / 1:32 AM / 25 days ago

Argentine lawmakers give final OK to Macri's budget, tax plan

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Argentina’s Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to the government’s tax reform and 2018 budget plan, part of President Mauricio Macri’s push to cut business costs and attract investment to Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

Macri was elected in late 2015 with a mandate to free the markets by ditching the heavy controls put on the economy by the previous government. The 2018 budget bill foresees economic growth of 3.5 percent and average inflation of 15.7 percent.

Last week Congress approved Macri’s pension reform plan, part of his campaign to cut Argentina’s fiscal deficit to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2018 from 4.2 percent currently.

The pension reform debate prompted violent protests outside of Congress and a 24-hour general strike by labor unions that accuse Macri of cutting benefits to already-struggling pensioners while lowering corporate income taxes.

Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Leslie Adler

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