Revised budget for 2020 confirmed, expenditure up by 30%
Presenting the budget, which predicts revenue at EUR 9.19 billion and expenditure of EUR 13.39 billion, Prime Minister Janez Janša on Tuesday acknowledged the deficit, at roughly EUR 4.2 billion, was high, but he added the spending was prudent and positioned the Slovenian economy for a recovery.
Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said the deficit was merely temporary. "We expect that it will decline in the coming period and we'll be able to speak about surpluses again."
The budget increases the borrowing planned for the 2020 budget from EUR 1.6 billion to EUR 7.3 billion, EUR 2.2 billion of which has already been secured.
At the plenary debate Janša said spending on coronavirus-related measures amounted to roughly EUR 1.6 billion up until the end of August.
The biggest items were EUR 500 million for furloughed workers, roughly EUR 560 million in waived social security contributions, and EUR 150 million in income support and waiver of contributions for sole proprietors and farmers.
On the budget revenue side, it is expected that income tax receipts will be EUR 230 million lower than projected, VAT receipts will be down by EUR 720 million and excise by EUR 170 million.
Overall, Janša said the budget was a realistic reflection of the country's current fiscal position. What is more, the spending priorities position the economy for recovery.
Janša's views were echoed in the debate by coalition parities, with Suzana Lep Šimenko of the Democrats (SDS) arguing that nobody wanted a large deficit but that measures were needed to mitigate the economic contraction, which was indeed smaller than in the EU on average.
The opposition was however critical, arguing the budget was not transparent, having items that had nothing to the with the crisis hidden among stimulus measures.
Other reproaches were related to the procurement of PPE, to the alleged "disciplining those who are making life hard for the government", and to cuts in culture, research, employment, housing, rail infrastructure investment and nursing homes.