By: Tanja Brkić / Nova24tv
Coordinator of the Left party (Levica), Luka Mesec, has announced that the party will withdraw the proposal to call a consultative referendum on an amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act, while the New Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija – Nsi) has launched a promotional campaign in favour of the aforementioned act, entitled Higher Wages for All. “Regarding taxes, the New Slovenia party adheres to the simple principle that citizens know what to do with their money better than the state and that we will do the most for the future if we leave a big amount of the hard-earned money in people’s pockets, so their money is at their own disposal,” President of the NSi party, Matej Tonin, said about the amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act, which, as he said, “is one vote away from getting the final approval.” Tonin hopes that the referendum on this amendment will not take place but also urges the people to express their support for the law by adding their signatures, thus increasing the level of trust in the law itself and also the benefits that it brings.
He also believes that a certain percentage of people are not even familiar with the contents of the law in question yet, so he invited everyone who would like to know more about it to the new website, where anyone can read more about the content and the positive aspects of the act, as well as calculate their potential net salary, which would become a reality after the law is adopted. “The essence of the law is that it brings a higher net salary to everyone, and I mean everyone,” said Matej Tonin, President of the NSi party. They will also respond to any questions and criticism on the website, as well as collect signatures, both in writing and electronically, so the citizens can express their support for the law. Tonin also said that “it is still not known whether the referendum will actually happen or not, as the Left party has not yet withdrawn its initiative for it, but let me say that if the Left continues to insist on this referendum, then according to our inquiries in the parliament, the majority is still in favour of adjusting their referendum question in a way that makes it independent, correct and appropriate, because the way it is formed with not, it is misleading. We will also make sure to schedule this referendum on election day, which is the only logical and rational thing to do,” which would also ensure a high turnout.
Higher salary as motivation for work, and a novelty for retirees as well
“Slovenia is a country of prosperity, created by all employees who get up early in the morning and work all day, thus contributing to the state budget, so we want them to have a larger share of the wages,” said Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Janez Cigler Kralj, who said that the new law also has important consequences for the labour market. “Our belief is that a healthy person, capable of work, needs work – and not social assistance. We may have to face the challenge of the difference between wages and the social financial assistance not being enough to motivate people to work, and tax relief would mean that wages would be higher, and the ratio would also be higher, and consequently, people would be more motivated to work.” The law also brings novelties for pensioners, as the amount of the tax-free pension would amount to 1433 euros per month, while now it is 1173 euros.
Increasing international competitiveness and higher salaries for rescue and protection volunteers
Head of the NSi parliamentary group, Jožef Horvat, said that the international economy is export-oriented, but because today not only companies but also countries have to compete in competitiveness, they must make sure to create a suitable environment for this. As Slovenia wage taxation that is too high, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Horvat said that he and his party believe that the new law will increase the salaries of all employees due to the increase in general income tax relief, as “Slovenia remains in eighth place among the OECD countries, due to the 42 percent tax burden.”
“A Slovenian employee with an average salary is left with only 66 percent of his gross salary, an Italian employee receives 71 percent, and a Slovakian employee gets as much as 77 percent of his gross salary – the NSi party wants to change that, and the first step to that is the adoption of the amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act,” said Horvat. He added that the amendment also brings a new relief in the amount of 1500 euros for all those who have been voluntarily and non-professionally performing protection, rescue and assistance tasks in the last ten years.
A referendum is an expression of the will of the citizens, so they are not afraid of it
To the opposition’s accusations that NSi is “buying” votes if it will indeed schedule the referendum on election day, as nobody would vote against higher salaries, Tonin responded that their argument is unfounded, as “citizens would receive two ballots, one on which they would decide which party to vote for, and another for the amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act, so voting for higher wages and showing support for a specific party are not related. However, we have shown the people that because of their hard work, there is more money in the budget, which leaves room for manoeuvre, which thus allows us to do this. The logic is simple,” Tonin said. “One of the dangers we see is that because it was the current coalition which has approved the amendment, perhaps a slightly different coalition would start amending this law, because it would want to prove that it is different from the current coalition, and therefore, we see this referendum as a strong political message and a powerful tool to keep this law as it is today in the future as well. We want the matter to be permanent, and that is why we are not afraid of the referendum,” Tonin concluded.
When asked when the new law would come into force, Tonin said that it would be easy to harmonise everything after the amendment is adopted, and it is expected to take effect from the 1st of January 2022 onwards. “There would be a settlement of personal income tax matters, as in the case of personal income tax, and we would resolve the matter in the same way in this case.”