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Italian parliament gives vote of confidence to revised 2019 budget

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Italian parliament gives vote of confidence to revised 2019 budget

Italy's parliament passed a 2019 budget Dec. 29, Reuters reported, following a Dec. 19 deal with the European Commission that calmed financial markets and dodged a potential disciplinary procedure from the bloc that could have imposed fines on the country.

The Italian government cut its 2019 headline deficit target to 2.04% of GDP from 2.4% to prevent Brussels from launching an excessive deficit procedure. The commission had rejected Italy's original budget plan in October, saying it was in breach of EU fiscal rules.

The budget, which won a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies by 327 to 228, calls for a new income support plan known as the "citizens' wage," a reduction in the retirement age, tax cuts for the self-employed and higher taxes on banks, insurers and gambling companies, according to Reuters.

Reuters quoted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as saying the budget is "the first step of a broad and ambitious plan of reform" that would jump-start the Italian economy. Opposition lawmakers complained that the last-minute deal with Brussels meant they had no time to properly assess or debate the amended package of measures.