Latest stimulus package on parliament’s agenda next Tuesday

Ljubljana – The National Assembly will convene an emergency session next Tuesday, on 29 December, to confirm the government’s latest economic stimulus package, the college of deputy group leaders decided on Monday.

The day prior, the bill will be debated by the parliamentary Finance Committee, and on Wednesday a special session will be called with one item on the agenda: a resolution that the act cannot be subject to a referendum.

One reason to speed the legislation along is the plan to give pensioners a one-off allowance ranging from EUR 130 to EUR 300 along with the pensions for December, which are paid out on the last day of the month.

In January stimulus EUR 200 payments for employees making under twice the minimum wage and EUR 150 transfers to students are planned.

Farmers over 65 with income under EUR 591 will get EUR 150. Religious workers will get a basic income of EUR 700, plus their social security contributions will be covered by the state.

For companies, special loans will be available from the state-owned SID Banka, while companies that suffered a revenue decline in excess of 70% will be eligible for aid of EUR 2,000 per employee in fixed costs.

There are also special provisions helping transport companies, rent assistance for companies, payment of rapid coronavirus tests for companies, and waiver of VAT on medical equipment needed to fight the epidemic.

NGOs meanwhile voiced concern about a provision to abolish a special state fund for NGOs that annually disburses around EUR 5 million. Instead, the portion of income tax that every taxpayer may allocate to an NGO of their choosing would be doubled.

The provision is expected to be dropped as the coalition agreed today to withdraw it. PM Janez Janša meanwhile said the government would respect the National Assembly’s final decision.

Another potential sticking point is a provision that would allow employers to terminate workers once they have met the formal conditions for retirement. Trade unions oppose the provision, employers have welcomed it.

The bill also includes a provision that unlocks funding for film projects, which has been suspended since the start of the epidemic.

Film funding has been held up for months despite repeated protests by film makers. The new provision would classify some films as projects of national importance whose financing does not require direct government consent.

The national Film Fund has said this would resolve the immediate problem but was not a systemic solution.