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Eichel: German 2004 Deficit at €43.7 billion

The German federal government will run up a record budget deficit of €43.7 billion ($54 billion dollars) this year, Finance Minister Hans Eichel said on Thursday. The cabinet would rubber stamp the higher-than-anticipated deficit in a supplementary budget next Wednesday, Eichel told the German lower parliamentary house, the Bundestag. At €43.7 billion, the budget deficit is about 50 percent wider than originally planned. Eichel blamed the development on lower sales and income tax revenues, as well as falling petrol and tobacco tax revenues. "The economy is growing, but tax revenues are still declining," Eichel said. In addition, high unemployment was also weighing on the federal budget. The minister said the sum could be revised again following the completion of the tax estimates in November. The previous deficit record was set in 1996 when Theo Waigel, finance minister under then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, ran up a deficit of about 80 billion deutsche marks, equivalent to around €40 billion. (AFP)

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