Moscow, 19 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Duma today approved in principle a proposed new tax code which the government says will encourage industrial growth and is crucial for the 1998 budget.
The first-step approval came with a total of 294 deputies in the lower house voting for the government-proposed resolution and just 80 voting against. Deputies were due to present amendments before voting later today on the final text of the resolution.
Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov today called the vote a basis from which to move forward.
Before the vote, Shatalov told Duma deputies that the new simplified tax code would lessen the tax burden on Russian industry by lowering from 75 to 28 the number of various tax groups. Shatalov also said the new tax code would cost the Russian government between 73-75 trillion roubles (some $ 12 billion) in lost revenue. But he said that money could be used by business for reinvestment.
Earlier this week, the Duma's budget committee issued a non-binding recommendation rejecting the new tax code. Some legislators have charged that the new tax code would unfairly shift the tax burden from business to ordinary Russians.
Meanwhile, the Duma today overrode a veto by President Boris Yeltsin on legislation subsidizing and regulating the country's agricultural sector. Itar-tass reported that 306 deputies voted for the legislation with six opposed and six abstaining.
The Duma this week has been debating government efforts to reform the economy. Yesterday, the Duma postponed debate on budget cuts after the government and the opposition-dominated chamber failed to reach a compromise on the size of the cuts. The government proposes cutting expenditures by $ 19 billion.