In Brief

Slovenia ‘Must Cut Taxes and Red Tape’

slovenia parliament building ljubljana

Reducing taxes on labour and cutting red tape to encourage faster development and long-term economic growth should be the key objectives of the next Slovenian government, according to Sonja Šmuc, the general director of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

She said in an interview with Reuters that the next government, which will be established after parliamentary elections expected to be held in June, will also have to act on pension reform to cope with a rapidly ageing population.

“The retirement age will have to be prolonged […] while jobs will have to be re-organised in a way that older people will want to keep working,” Ms Šmuc said.

Ms Šmuc added that people with the highest wages pay taxes on wages and personal income that together reach a rate as high as 70 per cent, which is not acceptable.

“It is hard to attract professionals from abroad after they calculate what would be the difference between their gross and net income. On top of that, young Slovenians are leaving the country, also due to high taxes,” she said.

She rejected public-sector demands for a large increase in wages, saying most public services have not improved enough in recent years to warrant the increases.

The interview took place about a week before strikes that are planned by the police, nurses and teachers to demand higher wages. In January, about 30,000 other public servants held a one-day strike for wage increases.

Ms Šmuc rejects public-sector demands for a large increase in wages, saying most public services have not improved enough in recent years to warrant the increases. She believes the public-sector wage bill should not increase by more than 4.4 per cent this year, as the government’s budget plan calls for.