Ireland Finds Extra Cash for 'Modest' Budget Boost

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Ireland's finance minister sought to raise over 800 million euros (714.89 million pounds) in extra revenue in a budget on Tuesday to give taxpayers a "modest" break and help tackle a housing crisis. He also sought to balance the state's books for the first time in a decade. Ireland started reversing years of savage spending cuts and tax hikes in 2014 - about the time its economy began to rebound sharply from a deep financial crisis, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. But hemmed in by European Union borrowing rules, Paschal Donohoe initially had far fewer resources this year than in those expansionary budgets. In the event, he boosted the budget package to 1.2 billion euros from the mere 350 million available chiefly through a 4 percentage point increase in stamp duty on commercial property, ensuring income tax cuts will not go into one pocket and come out the other. "On this budget day we build on progress that would have looked impossible only a few short years ago," Donohoe told parliament in his first budget speech as finance minister. Read more. (Subscription required.)