Greeks Unpaid State Bills Grow

As Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says a recovery is looming, debts to the state set a record high in August, rising 1.4 billion euros.

ATHENS – As Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says a recovery from a crushing economic crisis is looming, debts to the state set a record high in August, rising 1.4 billion euros, about $1.79 billion.

The unsettling data came from the Finance Ministry which had been touting that the country would soon have a primary surplus double the previous estimate of 1.5 billion euros, not including interest on debt, the cost of running municipalities and state enterprises, social security and some military costs.

In the period from January to August, new expired debts to the state came to 8.65 billion euros and ministry officials said it was because of allowing Greeks buried by austerity measures to have more time to pay what they owe and because there are too many high tax obligations to meet.

They also blamed Greeks going on vacation in August instead of paying their taxes, although Parliament and politicians took holidays at the same time.