The leaders of Slovakia's coalition parties reached agreement on next year's budget, overcoming previous sticking points, after four hours of talks on Thursday, November 25. The agreement will mean several changes, partly to increase budget expenditure but also to boost revenue, the TASR newswire reported.
"The government is submitting laws and a budget to Parliament aimed at curtailing next year's deficit by 2.5 percent, or €1.7 billion, in order to spread the burden in an even and fair manner while minimising the impact on low-income families and citizens," said Prime Minister Iveta Radičová after the session, at the same time expressing her belief that legislators would back the measures.
In line with the leaders' agreement, health-care contributions should be paid from dividends, while an earlier proposal to levy tax on contributions paid into the voluntary, third pillar of the pension system was dropped. In addition, the tax on beer is to be increased by 22 and 27 percent, rather than 49 percent as originally planned. The 22-percent increase will apply to small breweries, while the 27-percent hike will affect larger ones. According to the prime minister, more funds will flow into family policies, while the coalition is advocating a rise in maternity benefits as well as an extension of the period during which mothers are eligible to receive them. Meanwhile, health-care levies that the state pays on behalf of certain groups of people will drop to 4.32 percent of Slovakia's average salary. In overall terms, however, the health-care sector will receive 2.1 percent more funding than in 2010, said Radičová.
Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš (SDKÚ) gave assurances that the changes to the budget proposal would not translate into a rise in next year's projected public-finance deficit of 4.9 percent of GDP.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
26. Nov 2010 at 10:00