Europe

German finance minister resists pressure for quick tax cuts

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, center, attends a New Year's reception of German President Joachim Gauck at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, center, attends a New Year's reception of German President Joachim Gauck at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

Germany's finance minister is resisting pressure for quick tax cuts and extra spending after the country posted another budget surplus.

Wolfgang Schaeuble plans to use the federal government's 6.2 billion-euro ($6.6 billion) surplus to pay off debt. The conservative Christian Democrats of Schaeuble and Chancellor Angela Merkel have long made getting Germany's finances in order a key policy plank, though they're raising the prospect of tax cuts after this year's election.

The rival center-left Social Democrats and Merkel's Bavarian conservative allies would like to see action sooner. But Schaeuble told Friday's edition of the daily Bild that the next government should undertake a "comprehensive reform" of income and business tax.

He added: "You cannot finance permanent tax cuts from the surplus at the end of one year. That isn't serious."