July 24, 2019 / 2:58 PM / in a month

Italy wants early 2020 budget with no sales tax rise, Conte says

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addresses the Parliament on allegations that the ruling coalition League party has sought illegal funding from Russia, in Rome, Italy July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s government wants to approve its 2020 budget before a mid-October deadline and to stick to its goal of avoiding a scheduled rise of sales taxes, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.

At a hearing in the Italian Parliament, Conte said the executive was already at work on next year’s budget. He did not provide details on how it would cover the revenue gaps caused by planned measures.

“In the coming days, we will meet the main social partners with the aim of producing the budget ahead of schedule”, Conte said.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the League, one of the two parties in the governing coalition, met union and business leaders last week, saying at the time he wanted the budget drawn up in July and August rather than September and October. [nL8N24G34W]

The European Union’s fiscal rules require EU nations to submit their draft budgets to Brussels by mid-October.

Conte repeated that the government was working to avoid increasing value-added tax (VAT). Its additional revenues of some 23 billion euros ($25.6 billion) are already taken into account in deficit projections for next year.

Rome has committed to adopt alternative measures to offset the lost revenues from VAT. That has helped the Italian government to avoid an EU disciplinary procedure over its growing debt.

Conte said the budget gap will be filled by cutting public spending, reviewing tax incentives and with higher revenues, but gave no details on specific measures.

($1 = 0.8969 euros)

Reporting by Angelo Amante and Francesco Guarascio; editing by Crispian Balmer, Larry King

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