The Slovenia Times

Coalition Reaches Agreement on 2014 Supplementary Budget


The coalition decided not to cut pensions but to abolish tax relief for seniors, which will affect people over 65 whose monthly income exceeds EUR 1400.

DeSUS president Karl Erjavec, who has said the previous week that the party would leave the coalition in case of any pension-related cuts, said after today's meeting that the supplementary budget has been agreed upon to a degree that "we are no longer in the danger of political crisis".

He said that the abolishment of seniors' tax relief will affect only a group of people who are not in danger of poverty. It is very important to Erjavec that pensioners with the lowest income are not affected and that no cuts will be made to pensions.

Erjavec believes the entire coalition will support the supplementary budget for 2014. "We managed to avoid the worst." He added that he was satisfied with the outcome, adding that DeSUS will discuss the tax relief abolishment tomorrow.

In recent days it had become increasingly unlikely that the coalition would go ahead with a plan to abolish holiday allowances for pensioners, as several party leaders said the move would not be fair after holding talks with Pensioners' Association head Mateja Kožuh Novak.

The abolishment of seniors' tax relief will bring in EUR 20m, while more is expected to be saved by finding reserves at individual ministries, according to Interior Minister Gregor Virant, who listed investment cuts and cuts in material expenses.

The supplementary budget will also include the planned real estate tax and measures to tackle the shadow economy.

None of the ministers who attended the meeting wanted to talk about figures, but according to unofficial information, they were cutting EUR 50m on the initial proposal for 2014.

Finance Minister Uroš Čufer meanwhile said that the government would not discuss the supplementary budget for 2014 at its session tomorrow. He said all that is left was to draft the documents.

He believes another supplementary budget will not be needed for 2014. He did not reveal any concrete numbers but said they were "the same as initially planned". The government aimed to keep the deficit at 3% of the GDP, which has been achieved in the talks, according to Čufer.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said before the four-hour meeting ended that the coalition was looking for reserves at individual ministries. He said a solution must be found "considering that there is no money, no other way".

Citizens' List (DL) president Virant also made a statement for the press after the meeting. He finds the most important thing is not to impose any additional taxes and to protect those with the lowest pensions.

He moreover believes much will be achieved with measures to fight the shadow economy. He believes these measures will be the key to success of 2014 budget. He underlined that no additional cuts will be made in public sector pay.

Every budget is very demanding politically, Virant said. "But I believe all coalition parties are mature enough to know that political stability is key."


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