The Slovenia Times

FinMin Presents Budget to Union and Business Reps


The presentation of the plans for the supplementary budgets is part of the government's efforts to amend the spending plans in order to cap the budget deficit at 3.4% of GDP this year and bring it below 3% next year.

While there was no debate today on the planned measures - this is due to take place next week - the two sides attending the presentation were quick to raise objections on the sidelines about the measures they see problematic.

The business representatives were especially critical of the proposed increases in taxes - the planned hike in the financial services tax, the introduction of a new tax on sugary drinks, and changes to the carbon tax.

President of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) Branko Meh said that while business welcomes the proposed EUR 1.5bn budget for investment, it fears the new taxes which are being planned.

The overhauled carbon tax in particular will "reduce competitiveness of Slovenian business compared to foreign counterparts", he said.

This was echoed by Igor Antauer of the Employer Association, who said that the Slovenian steel industry is already overly burdened with taxes and could face major problems in competing internationally if environmental taxes were to be raised.

Meh argued that there is still room for optimisation in the public sector, which would help reduce state spending and thus reduce the need to find additional revenues.

However, this idea was quickly shot down by the trade unions, which are already opposed to the government's plans for reducing the wage bill in the public sector.

Representative of the ZSSS trade union confederation blasted the failure of the government to move away from austerity in the budget proposals. Andreja Poje said that it was time to focus on stimulus.

Moreover, Poje argued that the austerity measures in Slovenia are focused on the "making the least effort", which means saving on "wages and bonuses of soldiers, fire fighters, nurses". The result will be a system devoid of any semblance of reward, where everyone will earn the minimum wage, she said.

This was echoed by head of the ZSSS Dušan Semolič, who said the government measures were aimed at "protecting the interests of capital". "Capital should contribute the most to the functioning of the state. The government should not be focusing on expenditure and reducing workers rights, but on revenues."

Mramor did not speak to the press after the session.


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