Greek Parliament passes 2016 budget

Greek Parliament passes 2016 budget

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's Parliament has approved the 2016 budget that includes deep spending cuts & tax hikes amid economic recession.

The budget passed early Sunday, 153-145, with 2 lawmakers absent in the 300-member Parliament. The vote was strictly along partisan lines.

The government forecasts zero economic growth this year & a contraction of 0.7 percent in 2016. Earlier, it had predicted declines of 2.3 percent & 1.3 percent, respectively.

p>Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Parliament that growth would resume in the second half of 2016 & a strong tourist season could avoid a recession altogether.

Despite spending cuts of around 2 billion euros ($2.18 billion) & a similar amount in tax hikes, debt is forecast to grow to 327.6 billion euros ($356 billion) or 187.8 percent of GDP from 180.2 percent in 2015.

Source: “Associated Press”