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Argentina's lower house passes bill to reduce taxes on wealthy

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's lower house on Tuesday passed a government-backed bill to cut taxes on high-income earners, a move that would erase about one trillion pesos ($2.8 billion) from state coffers in 2023, according to official estimates.

The bill, which must now go through the Senate, passed with 135 votes in favor and 103 against.

If it were to become law, around 800,000 people would have their taxes slashed, according to government estimates, easing pressure on key voters who are suffering from the country's spiraling annual inflation rate, which hit 124.4% in August.

"Salaries are not profit," Economy Minister and presidential candidate Sergio Massa wrote on social media platform X following the vote.

Opposition lawmakers blasted the move, saying the proposed tax cut aims to benefit Massa's presidential run for the October election.

Far-right lawmaker Javier Milei, the candidate leading the polls for the upcoming vote, also supported the measure, but said its timing makes it political.

"They had four years to stop stealing from workers and they roll this out in the middle of a campaign," Milei said in Congress.

The South American nation is grappling with triple-digit annual inflation, with analysts polled by the central bank setting it at 169.3% at the end of the year.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Additional reporting by Juan Bustamante and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Sonali Paul)