Australia, Aiming For Surplus, Hikes Taxes On Rich

Published February 15, 2012 2:09AM (EST)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian lawmakers have narrowly approved tax hikes for the wealthy that the government says will help it meet its pledge to deliver a budget surplus next year.

The legislation will limit the availability of a tax rebate on health insurance premiums to lower- and middle-income earners. It will cost wealthy earners a total of 2.4 billion Australian dollars ($2.6 billion) over three years.

The bill scraped through the House of Representatives on Wednesday by 71 votes to 70, but it's assured passage through the Senate with the guaranteed support of the government and Greens party senators.

The government has promised to deliver a surplus of AU$1.5 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012, despite the European debt crisis slashing revenue.

By Salon Staff

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