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Belgium pushes through tax shift totaling $7.7 billion

BRUSSELS (AP) — The center-right government of Prime Minister Charles Michel has pushed through a tax shift to lighten the cost of labor for businesses and offset it with taxes on energy, alcohol and tobacco.

After all-night negotiations that stretched into Thursday, the Michel government announced it would balance the budget by 2018. The deficit stood at 3.2 percent last year.

To offset the 7 billion euros ($7.7 billion) decrease in labor costs for businesses, the government will increase taxation on products which are a burden on health or the environment. At the same time, the government plans to make it more costly to go on early retirement and levy a tax on short-term share sales.

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