Hong Kong cuts taxes to shore up economy amid protests

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s government has announced tax cuts, higher social welfare payments and other steps to reverse an economic slowdown that has been aggravated by anti-government protests.

The territory’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, said Thursday that the official economic growth outlook this year has been cut to zero from 1%, which would be its worst performance since 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Hong Kong’s economic growth already was declining before anti-government protests erupted this year. They have disrupted tourism and retailing.

Chan said the changes announced Thursday would result in some 1.3 million taxpayers having their taxes waived. He said the government will increase payments for elderly and low-income residents.

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