Education and Healthcare to Get Greatest Outlays in 2008 Budget

Education and Healthcare to Get Greatest Outlays in 2008 Budget

Education and healthcare will get the greatest increase in outlays in the 2008 budget, as seen in the draft document approved Tuesday by the leaders of the three parties in the ruling coalition, Sergei Stanishev of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of the Simeon II National Movement and Ahmed Dogan of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the government information service said.

The draft 2008 budget is to be considered by the Council of Ministers at a meeting Wednesday, BTA is reporting.

The budget surplus is projected at 3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The ruling three-party coalition decided that the administrative staff be cut by 12 per cent.

Under the draft budget, 12.2. per cent of the GDP are set aside for welfare benefits, social assistance and care; 4.2 per each for education and healthcare; 2.1 per cent for defence; 1.9 per cent for police, internal law and order and security; 2.4 per cent for public works; and 0.4 per cent for science.

Under the draft budget, salaries in the public-financed sphere will rise by up to 10 per cent and pensions will go up 9.5 per cent in 2008. The minimum monthly wage will be 220 leva, up 40 leva from this year's 180 leva. Natural persons' income of all types will be taxed at a flat 10 per cent rate next year, and the tax threshold will be abolished. The only exception will be the income accruing from economic activity to sole traders, which will be taxed at 15 per cent.

The corporate tax will remain 10 per cent, and VAT, 20 per cent. The dividend tax will be reduced from 7 per cent to 5 per cent.

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