The AP is reporting that Ireland has unveiled the most severe budget cutbacks in its history on Wednesday. The country mired in debt has announced a four-year plan of spending cuts and tax hikes to raise 15 billion euros ($20 billion).
Approximately 24,000 state employees could lose their jobs in the process and the sales tax could rise to 23%. The 2011-2014 plan will shave 10 billion euros ($13.3 billion) from spending and bring in 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) from extra taxes.
The austerity plan is a prerequisite for Ireland to receive an EU-IMF loan estimated at 85 billion euros ($115 billion). Ireland is hoping its deficit, estimated to reach a record 32% this year, will fall to 3% of GDP by 2014.