San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Government Surplus Grows to $275 Million

Despite mounting economic woes, the Costa Rican government managed to increase its financial surplus for the first seven months of the year to about $275 million, according to the Finance Ministry.

A surplus occurs when government revenues surpass expenses, including interest payments on the public debt.

The surplus is triple what the government achieved during the first seven months of 2007.

The government collected 40.1 percent more in income taxes in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year, as well as 23.9 percent more in customs taxes and 22.6 percent more in sales taxes.

Meanwhile, spending increased only 17.4 percent, the ministry said.

The ministry said the deeper pockets would allow the government to better face what are normally bigger bills in the second half of the year, which include salary increases and the aguinaldo – a yearly bonus equal to one month’s salary and paid to workers in December.

“These results from the month of July confirm that one of our country’s strengths is its fiscal situation, as has been recognized in recent weeks by one of the principal international risk qualifiers,” Finance Minister Guillermo Zuñiga said.

Last week, Moody’s Investor Services raised its outlook for Costa Rica from stable to positive.


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