Swiss tax rise

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The Independent Online
ZURICH (Reuter) - Switzerland's voters yesterday backed government attempts to get its finances in order and approved an increase in the petrol tax and the legalisation of casinos. They threw out a proposal by an animal rights group that would have banned all medical experiments on animals, however.

Some 54 per cent of the electorate voted in favour of the rise in the petrol tax. The Finance Ministry, grappling with a federal budget deficit which is expected to surge to 5bn Swiss francs ( pounds 2.3bn) this year from Sfr3bn in 1992, had warned that the extra petrol tax of 20 centimes a litre was vital if the electorate wanted to avoid painful expenditure cuts.