Austrian government presents package to cushion inflation

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BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian government on Tuesday presented a package of measures aimed at cushioning the impact of high inflation that includes 500-euro ($523) payments for all residents and a three-month delay to a new levy on carbon dioxide emissions.

The government, a coalition of Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s conservatives and the environmentalist Greens, put the price of immediate measures at about 5 billion euros and said the package will cost a total of 28 billion euros through 2026. It says it aims to bring relief first to people on low incomes; the unemployed and people on low pensions are slated to get a payment of 300 euros each.

That’s in addition to 500 euros each for everyone — half of that for children, and half of it described as a “climate bonus.”

The government decided to delay from July until October the introduction of a CO2 pricing plan that envisions an initial levy of 30 euros per ton of carbon dioxide, rising to 55 euros in 2025.

Other measures include “electricity price compensation” for business and a grant for energy-intensive companies and, in the longer term, a move to address wage increases being eaten up when they move recipients into a higher tax bracket.

Austria’s annual inflation rate hit 8% in May, in line with similar rates in other European countries fueled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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