The Slovenia Times

Finance Ministry state secretary resigns over tax reform

Tilen Božič, the Finance Ministry's state secretary in charge of taxes and customs payments, at the National Assembly's regular March session.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Tilen Božič, a state secretary at the Finance Ministry in charge of tax policy, has tendered his resignation in the wake of Prime Minister Robert Golob's criticism of the job the ministry's team has been doing in selling the planned tax reform to the public.

The resignation on 29 March came a day after Golob indicated the government might even abandon plans for tax reform as he said that healthcare was the only field in urgent need of reform.

Golob told POP TV's weekly news show Preverjeno that the tax reform should perhaps better be scrapped in case it failed to increase people's net income and drive economic development.

"If we can't convince people that the reforms are for their own good and will make their lives easier, we won't go through with the reforms," he said.

Golob was critical of the Finance Ministry team in charge of the reform effort, saying it had done a bad job at communicating it and had presented it the wrong way, which is why he was taking over communication and the guidelines in this field.

In response, the ministry stressed that its team had so far only presented an analysis of the situation, a timeline, and the basic reform guidelines. "The specific content has never been communicated due to the fact that we wanted to find consensus with key stakeholders first."

While Minister Klemen Boštjančič has ruled out resigning himself, the ministry said that preparations for reform continued and that an effort would be made to better explain what changes are being planned and to bring them closer to the people.

It has been widely expected that the tax reform would include a new property tax, something several consecutive governments have tried and failed to execute, but Golob's statements suggest that is questionable now as well.

"Once we have that sorted out, we can turn our attention to property," he said, adding that he was not talking about real estate.

The development has caused some friction in the ranks of the coalition since junior partners saw the guidelines as a good starting point.

The opposition, meanwhile, has jumped on the news as evidence that reforms will not happen in 2023 as promised.

"There are no reforms, just analyses, strategic councils, ideas, talks, discussions, and timelines that nobody sticks to," said Jelka Godec, deputy group leader for the Democrats (SDS).


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