Conservatives insist on raising minimum wage, nontaxable income to 500 euros in Latvia

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RIGA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The monthly nontaxable minimum income and minimum wage in Latvia should be raised to 500 euros next year, the ruling New Conservative Party insisted at a meeting of the government coalition's tax committee Monday, local media informed.

The tax policy committee of Latvia's center-right government coalition met on Monday to discuss political parties' tax proposals and the possibility to increase the minimum wage in the nearest future. While each of the five coalition parties has its own plans and objectives, the New Conservative Party currently stands out with its ambition to increase both the minimum wage and nontaxable minimum income to 500 euros in 2019.

"Considering current trends in the economy, the growth of which is slowing down, it is essential to leave more money in people's pockets. And a rapid raise of nontaxable minimum income will help do just that," said Krisjanis Feldmanis, an MP of the New Conservative Party.

He added that coalition partners did not raise serious objections to this proposal at Monday's meeting.

The Finance Ministry's parliamentary secretary Atis Zakatistovs of the ruling KPV LV party, hinted that negotiations on next year's budget would be a matter of the government's stability. He also informed that some of the proposals for next year included cutting value added tax (VAT) on books and food services.

The Finance Ministry is expected to assess the proposals' fiscal effects within a week.

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins' New Unity party, meanwhile, stands by the prime minister's position that it would be more important to raise nontaxable minimum income and leave the minimum wage unchanged in order to prevent wage push inflation.

Ints Dalderis, the prime minister's representative on the tax committee, stressed the importance of fiscal discipline and called for reducing rather than widening Latvia's budget deficit.

Earlier, Prime Minister Karins spoke against any major tax changes before 2021. Enditem

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