Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, whose proposed tax changes have been met with criticism from the ruling coalition, says that opposition is only to be expected.
“No changes in taxation can ever be accomplished like cutting a knife through butter, there is always resistance from certain groups of the public,” Nausėda told reporters after meeting with members of the Seimas Board on Friday.
Earlier this week, the president proposed raising welfare spending by 100 million euros next year, mostly to increase disability benefits and pensions for the retired.
To fund the extra spending, Nausėda has proposed a number of changes to the taxation system: lowering farmers' diesel fuel tax exemptions, slowing down tax-exempt income (NPD) raises and scrapping differentiated tax rates on different kinds of income.
“What we propose today involves non-radical changes to the tax environment that are fairly predictable and really implementable, unless somebody undermines them intentionally,” he said.
According to the Lithuanian president, changes to the diesel fuel tax exemption “have caused major controversies” in the past, but his proposal does not involve scrapping the exemption completely, only making it “more acceptable”.
Nausėda has also proposed increasing the tax-exempt income size by only 10 percent, or 30 euros, next year, instead of raising it from 300 to 400 euros. This point sparked negative reactions from the Social Democratic Labour Party, a coalition partner in the government.
The president's office plans to put specific bills before the parliament later, and Nausėda says he is ready to argue for each point.
“And if one or the other bill is rejected, the public needs to know who, why and for what reasons did it. That will be very useful information before the next election,” the president said.