The Slovenia Times

Supplementary budget ready for plenary


Ljubljana - The parliamentary Finance Committee went over the revised budget documents on Saturday, making them ready for the plenary starting on Monday. While Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said expenditure had to be increased by EUR 600 million due to actions of the previous government, the opposition was critical.

Under the changes expenditure will increase to EUR 14.6 billion, while revenue is estimated at EUR 12.5 billion, which is about EUR 1 billion more than initially planned. Deficit is estimated to reach just over EUR 2 billion at the end of the year.

The budget needed to be revised because the previous government "gave out a number of bonbons before the election," Boštjančič said, referring to the general election in April.

When he took over as minister in June, his predecessor told him public finance was in good condition, said Boštjančič. "But he forgot to mention that a number of regulations with high financial consequences had been adopted since the budget was passed."

Among other things, he pointed to digital vouchers, extending of validity of tourism vouchers, and the last pandemic intervention act, which was passed in late December 2021, and whose financial effect was estimated at EUR 280 million, but was in fact EUR 400 million.

In addition to that, the incumbent government is now facing a tough economic situation in the wake of the war in Ukraine and rising energy costs, as well as high inflation.

The opposition was critical of the supplementary budget, filing 11 amendments, of which none was passed.

Suzana Lep Šimenko of the Democrats (SDS) said that Slovenia saw a deficit of EUR 342 million at the end of August, but the revised budget puts it at EUR 2 billion at the end of the year.

"You opted for the easiest way - you will impose significant tax hikes," she said, warning that higher taxes do not necessarily mean higher tax revenue. "You should be aware that inflation is at 11% and that citizens are bracing for winter."

Janez Magyar of the SDS would like to see development guidelines in the supplementary budget, while his party colleague Jožef Lenart echoed Magyar's fear that the revised budget be a hindrance for the economy.

Boštjančič explained the reduction in investment funds by saying that the original budget overestimated investments, while supplementary budget puts them at the amount assessed as realistic by budget users.

Aleksander Reberšek of New Slovenia (NSi) accused the government of starving the country by reducing development and science funds, cutting salaries and raising taxes.

The committee also discussed the changes to the budget implementation act for 2022 and 2023. These entail smaller changes, according to Boštjančič, such as lowering the necessary borrowing amount from EUR 5 billion to EUR 4 billion due higher revenue.

The changed budget implementation act also increases state loan guarantee due to the energy crisis, among other things.

The SDS filed an amendment to the changes, which would increase per capita state funding of municipalities. The committee did not vote on the motion because per capita funding for municipalities cannot be changed in the changes to the budget implementation act.


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