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Czech leaders open way to tax hikes, spending cuts

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Czech political parties are close to agreement on tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by the interim government in an attempt to halt the fast growth in the budget deficit, party leaders said on Wednesday. An agreement could arrest fast deterioration of the budget after the central European economy slumped into a recession, and prevent what the government said was a threat of a meltdown seen in Hungary last year. The cabinet led by Prime Minister Jan Fischer proposed measures to cut the fiscal gap to 5.2 percent of gross domestic product next year from currently forecast 7.5 percent, and warned it may quit if parties do not back the plan if they amend it heavily.

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