Left withdraws motion to call referendum on income tax act

Photo: STA

Ljubljana – The Left has withdrawn its motion for a consultative referendum on changes to the income tax act, as the government had indicated the referendum could be held on the same day as the general election. Left coordinator Luka Mesec said the party did not want to enable the government to build its election campaign on “promises of higher wages.”

Mesec said on Wednesday that the Left did not want to give the centre-right the opportunity to build the campaign “at the expense of the devastated budget”, while adding that the party still held the position that the changes were detrimental.

“This can be clearly seen these days as nurses and others in the public sector are on strike. Money for them cannot be found, while at the same time the government obviously has the money to reduce budget revenue by EUR 800 million.”

The income tax changes would lead to higher take-home pay by virtue of a higher general tax relief, lower tax on capital gains, and a lower top tax rate.

The coalition has focused its messaging on higher pay, accusing the opposition of being against giving people more money.

The opposition meanwhile says the legislation would result in slightly higher wages, but as a result there would be less money for health and other publicly funded services.

The withdrawal of the referendum motion comes after Prime Minister Janez Janša said that the coalition “might take up the challenge” of the referendum so that people may have a say in whether they want higher wages.

The National Assembly was due to vote on the amendments in December, but the ruling Democrats (SDS) asked that the item be removed from the agenda since the coalition did not have the majority required to pass the bill.

The coalition parties said today that, by withdrawing the proposal to call a consultative referendum, the Left had admitted that it had made a mistake and gotten afraid of its own challenge.

The Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) kept insisting that the proposed amendments are good and believe that they will be adopted at the March session of the National Assembly.

NSi deputy Jožef Horvat said that in 2025, when the changes would fully enter into force, the state would receive EUR 490 million less in income tax revenue as the result, and not EUR 800 million as the Left claimed.