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Sunday, December 10, 2023

The industry of NGO-style nonsense is not set in stone – it can be abolished

By: Mitja Iršič

In the Ministry of Culture, in the previous term, we accidentally discovered that the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) allocates 5 million euros of your undistributed income tax to non-governmental organisations (primarily left and far-left “nonsense” projects). Until then, it seemed like a dirty secret of the Cerar government, as most people had no idea that their money was going to such purposes. At the Ministry of Culture, we initially encountered some bureaucratic resistance before MPA told us what was really happening. Even when I sent a request as a public relations officer for the ministry, I received no response – as if they did not want this to be discussed publicly.

What is this about? It is about a little treat that the Cerar government granted to its loyal ideological allies in the non-governmental sector just before its departure. Shortly before Miro Cerar was consigned to the scrapheap of used new faces, his Minister of Public Administration, Boris Koprivnikar, introduced an amendment to the Non-Governmental Organisations Act (NGO Act), which, in Article 28, established a special fund for the development of NGOs. These organisations were already receiving millions through project tenders, so it was purely a search for additional sources to tap into taxpayers’ money.

Article 28 establishes the creation of a budget fund for the development of NGOs, intended to finance projects and programmes. The main source of funding is the income tax that taxpayers have not designated for the financing of general interest purposes, political parties, or representative trade unions, even though they could have, according to the Income Tax Act. In other words, the undistributed income tax was transferred to the income tax item of the Ministry of Public Administration, where officials distributed the funds based on similar “formulas” and “expert assessments” as the current outgoing Minister for Public Administration did for “friendly” NGOs. This means that millions went to professional purveyors of obscurity who knew how to write 20 pages of word salad, full of virtuous terms like “inclusivity”, “solidarity”, and “equality”. Before the fund was established, the undistributed income tax went back to the general budget.

When we discovered that income tax was flowing into a special fund for NGOs, I talked to many people. Almost no one knew that their income tax (if not allocated to a specific recipient) no longer went back to the general budget, as it did before 2018. Even professional officials and people involved in grant applications were unaware of this. No one knew how Cerar’s Minister Koprivnikar had stealthily introduced such an important change without public knowledge.

The government led by Janša observed that the bizarre siphoning of funds, bypassing public awareness, was benefiting a select far-left elite. Even the tax expert and director of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (FURS), Ivan Simič, wrote an opinion that there was no good reason why undistributed income tax should not return to the treasury, as it did before the NGO Act amendment. Therefore, a proposal for a law was prepared to eliminate the ad hoc fund for NGOs, and the portion of income tax that taxpayers can donate to charitable organisations would be increased from 0.5% to 1%. This way, people would have more control over their money and could donate it to the organisations of their choice. The remainder would go back to the general budget, as it was before the fund was established.

What happened? Typical left-wing sabotage. Three far-left SMC MPs refused to support the law, and without their votes, there was no majority in Parliament. The law was then amended to increase the voluntary portion of the income tax to 1%, but the fund for NGOs remained intact. This means that today, leftists can distribute 10 million euros to their colleagues instead of 5 million, and the minister’s mother helps write the tender documentation.

Understand that this does not have to be the case for you. We cannot eliminate RTV Slovenia because it was cemented by the Constitutional Court. However, nowhere does it say that we are obligated to pay hundreds of thousands of euros for projects that seem like they were written by a generic text generator (“Preparation of a national strategy for policy coherence and sustainable development?” What?! “Establishment of an effective framework for ensuring accessible, appropriate, and safe reproductive rights for all individuals.” Seriously?) The industry of NGO-style nonsense can be discontinued! It is in the hands of taxpayers to do it together. We just need one thing: the first real right-wing coalition without left “liberal” stooges like DeSUS, DL, and the socialist trio SMC. Vote with your wallet in the next election!


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