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Rival parties tentatively agree on 2022 budget at W607tr

Parliament holds a plenary session for the revision of the youth protection act on Nov. 11. (Yonhap)
Parliament holds a plenary session for the revision of the youth protection act on Nov. 11. (Yonhap)
The ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition People Power Party reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to pass next year's government budget at 607 trillion won ($515 billion), officials said.

The agreement was reached during a bipartisan negotiation meeting headed by Rep. Yun Ho-jung and Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, floor leaders of the DP and PPP, respectively, along with Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki at the National Assembly earlier in the day, according to ruling party officials.

The size of the agreed budget is 3 trillion won larger than the government's proposal of 604 trillion won.

"We agreed to increase the size of the tax revenue budget by more than 4 trillion won and reduce that of tax expenditure by over 5 trillion won," Rep. Han Byung-do, deputy DP floor leader, said. 

Han added that the increased budget will be prioritized toward offering support to small merchants, providing low interest loans to business sectors not subject to damage compensations and augmenting the size of the medical budget in light of recent pandemic developments. 

The two sides are reportedly in additional talks on securing more money for regional prepaid cards used by municipal governments. The DP wants at least 21 trillion won worth of prepaid cards to be issued next year, which is 15 trillion won bigger than the government's plan. 

The National Assembly plans to pass next year's budget bill and 17 accompanying laws on Thursday. If passed, it will mark the second consecutive year in which parliament approves the government budget within the legal deadline of Dec. 2. (Yonhap) 

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