The Slovenia Times

Four-Day Plenary to Focus on Budget, Vote of Confidence


The budget documents, which were okayed by the parliamentary Finance and Monetary Policy Committee late on Saturday, project 2014 revenues at EUR 8.6bn and expenditure at EUR 9.6bn, which puts the deficit at EUR 1bn deficit or 2.9% of GDP. In 2015, the budget deficit is projected to shrink to EUR 859m or 2.4% of GDP.

The government plans to fill the budget gap by combating grey economy and collecting more tax revenues - primarily from the higher VAT rates introduced this year, the frozen corporate tax rate, changes to income tax entering force in 2014 and the new real estate tax, also expected to be introduced in January 2014.

The government also plans to achieve additional savings through the budget implementation act. The law reduces investment funding for municipalities, suspends adjustments of pensions and social transfers to inflation and sets penalties for officials failing to comply with the ban on hiring in the public sector.

A regular majority of votes in parliament is required to pass the budget documents and the associated vote of confidence.

Coalition parties support the budget. PM Bratušek's Positive Slovenia (PS) has said the budget documents were "feasible and maintain the welfare state".

The largest coalition party is also confident that the budget will "convince the financial markets that what we are doing is right and thereby regain trust".

The coalition Citizen's List (DL) has labelled the budget as the best possible solution given the circumstances while the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) have also announced support, highlighting the importance of political stability.

The opposition is less impressed with the government's work. The Democrats (SDS) criticise the document as unrealistic, unbalanced and lacking a focus on development.

Every citizen will have to pay about EUR 250 more next year in order for the tax revenues to increase by EUR 500m, SDS deputy Andrej Šircelj has said, adding the economic policies of the government were "policies of ruin".

The People's Party (SLS) hold a similar view. SLS president Franc Bogovič said the budget is based on unrealistic fundamentals as it does not include bank bailout costs and other expenses.

New Slovenia (NSi) also oppose the documents. More taxes cannot pull Slovenia out of the crisis, deputy group head Matej Tonin believes.


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