At the beginning of the sitting, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas made a political statement in connection with the submission of the next year’s state budget Bill to the Riigikogu.
The Prime Minister said that the state budget of 2015 is a budget of security which is guided by the aim of increasing the feeling of security of the Estonian people.
“This means greater welfare of the people of Estonia, this means knowing that the finances are in order, this means guaranteed security,” Rõivas said.
The Prime Minister listed defence spending, investments in internal security and the eastern border of Estonia, and the ensuring of economic security as the basic aims of the coming year’s budget. This will be safeguarded by a conservative budget.
The revenue of the state budget of 2015 is planned to amount to 8.4 billion euro, and the total volume of expenditure will amount to 8.5 billion euro. It is approximately half a million euro more than in 2014.
The government sector structural budget surplus will be 0.8 per cent of the gross domestic product. The state budget has been drafted based on the economic growth of 2.5 per cent.
The Prime Minister explained that the 2015 budget contains a reduction of the taxes on labour force; the income tax rate and the unemployment insurance premium will decrease and the basic exemption rate will increase. The reduction of the taxes on labour force will support employment and increase the incomes of families.
Rõivas said that the work on the capacity for work reform and the organisation of school networks would be continued. Starting from 2015, child benefits will rise significantly and the subsistence benefit level for families with children will increase, and the old age pension will increase by 5.9 per cent.
The representatives of factions Kadri Simson, Urmas Reinsalu, Aivar Sõerd and Rannar Vassiljev took the floor during the debate.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of two Bills:
The Bill on Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Morocco for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (710 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to facilitate investments between Contracting States. As an international legal act, the Convention grants greater legal certainty to investors, as compared with a national legislative act, in regard to these elements of the tax system that are regulated by the Convention, because amendment of a bilateral international convention is generally more time-consuming than amendment of a national legislative act. For the achievement of this aim, the Convention imposes restrictions on income taxes which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income, ensures equal treatment of persons and eliminates possible double taxation. The obligation of mutual exchange of information provided for in the Convention will create additional possibilities for prevention of tax evasions.
The Bill on Amendments to § 42 of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (689 SE), initiated by the Government, will guarantee that rural municipalities and cities (owners of municipal schools) and owners of private schools will receive support for covering the expense of school lunch also as regards upper secondary school stage students. The Bill extends the payment of school lunch support to upper secondary school students, in addition to basic school students.
The amendment will affect a total of 22 585 upper secondary school stage students (i.e. 16% of the total number of students).
Lauri Luik, Inara Luigas and Mailis Reps took the floor during the debate.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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