Spain plans $528M in environmental taxes to meet EU goals

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2016 8:25 AM

MADRID (AP) — Spain wants to raise 500 million euros ($528 million) from new environmental taxes as part of a package of fiscal measures to meet the European Union's budget deficit goals.

The new environmental taxes are part of the revised budgetary plan Spain has submitted to the European Commission. The plan says the new taxes will target a reduction in greenhouse gases.

Spain's plan also includes previously announced tax hikes on tobacco, alcoholic beverages and a new tax on soft drinks that together it says will raise another 350 million euros ($369 million). The plan also includes measures to crack down on tax fraud, streamline government administrations and eliminate some tax breaks for businesses.

Spain says its revised budgetary plan should generate 7.5 billion euros ($7.9 billion) as tries to reduce its deficit from an expected 4.6 percent of GDP this year to an EU-agreed 3.1 percent in 2017 to avoid sanctions.

Even with the increased revenue, Spain says to meet Brussels' target it is also counting on continued "strong economic growth."

Spain's deficit soared to 11.2 percent in 2009 during its economic crisis. Its economy, which grew 3.3 percent through the first three quarters of 2016, is now one of the fastest growing in the 28-nation European Union. Spain's tourism sector was especially strong this year, after deadly attacks in Turkey and elsewhere.

The budget will have to pass a vote in the Spanish parliament, where Spain's conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, rules in a minority.