Italians hit out at new tax hikes

Italians hit out at new tax hikes
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Italians reacted with anger on Saturday to parliament’s approval of a 48-billion-euro austerity package aimed at trimming public spending.

Legislators hope the cuts will soothe investor fear over Italy’s 1.6-trillion-euro debt mountain but Rome residents complained accompanying tax hikes will make them worse off.

“I don’t know if this package will help the country’s economy, what I know for sure is that it will empty our pockets,” said local man Antonio Cerchi.

Giuliana Brunori, another Rome resident, criticised Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government for passing the austerity package.

“Believe me, 60 to 70 percent of the Italian population is speechless about what has happened. Worst of all, we have no tools at our disposal to fight against it,” she said.

Parliament approved the austerity measures by 314 votes to 280.

Market concern over Italy’s massive public debt and its chronically weak economic growth pushed up government borrowing costs to 14-year high last week.

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