Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan has announced that residents eligible for spending vouchers would receive HKD5,000 (USD637) this year, a move that surprises most economists. The new voucher would be less than last year, but still a surprise. Chan’s proposal involves lowering the tax rate for first-time buyers of properties under HKD20m. The Hong Kong government would also cap the rebate on salaries tax at HKD6,000, benefiting 1.9 million taxpayers, down from HKD10,000 last year. Most economists had predicted a small fiscal surplus this year, but Chan said that he would adopt a “moderately liberal fiscal stance.” He said that the territory would still run an estimated deficit of HKD54.4bn this fiscal year. He said Hong Kong recorded a budget shortfall of HKD140bn in the last fiscal year.
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