Brdo pri Kranju – Amendments to the income tax act and energy vouchers, along with measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic, will be the coalition’s main priorities until the end of its term, coalition leaders said after a meeting on Friday. A bill establishing a demographic fund, on the other hand, is not seen as feasible.
The income tax amendments, stalled in parliament because the coalition does not have a majority in parliament, featured prominent, with Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the leader of New Slovenia (NSi) describing the legislation as determining “whether Slovenia will march forward into the future or return to Yugoslavia”. He said the coalition would do “everything it can” to secure passage of the law.
The amendments would increase take-home pay by raising the general tax credit that all taxpayers are eligible for, but the coalition has been unable to enlist the support of the opposition, which has voiced concern about the fiscal impact due to the prospect of lower tax revenue.
Some opposition parties have even threatened to initiate referendum proceedings and Prime Minister Janez Janša said that the coalition “might take up the challenge” so that people may have a say in whether they want higher wages.
“We’ll look into the time frame and procedural possibilities and frameworks for these decisions to be held alongside elections so that there are no extra costs incurred and people do not have to go to the polls twice,” he said.
As for energy vouchers, the Infrastructure Ministry will draw up the necessary legislation in the coming weeks.
One major piece of legislation, a bill establishing a demographic fund that would manage all state equity stakes to finance public pensions, appears to be off the table for now.
Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said, in reference to the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), which left the coalition a year ago, that the party which had an interest in this had “run into problems”.
“All that is left of it is individual MPs. I believe the legislation will be the subject of debate of the next government, whichever one it is,” said Počivalšek, the president of the Concretely party.
Coalition parties as well as notionally opposition parties and minority MPs, who often support the government in parliament, had been invited to the meeting.
National Party (SNS) leader Zmago Jelinčič showed up, as did one DeSUS MP, Robert Polnar. The minority MPs declined the invitation saying they tend not to participate in coalition meetings.