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At Question Time, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas answered the question of Kadri Simson on the elimination of tax differentiation, the question of Andres Herkel on the situation and challenges of the border guard service, the question of Andres Ammas on supporting children, and the question of Mart Helme on Estonia's readiness to protect its civilian population.

Simson referred to the election campaign where the Prime Minister promised that the Reform Party would not eliminate tax differentiation. Yet, this is now planned.

Rõivas explained that the Reform Party prefers, as a principle, to reduce the taxation of the labour force and to increase the taxation of polluting and hazardous consumption. “For years, we have also firmly believed that there should be less differentiation,” Rõivas said. He added that the Reform Party did not have a definite plan before the elections to eliminate this or that specific differentiation.

“Eliminations of differentiations have landed on our desk as sources of funding for increasing child benefits as well as for reducing taxes on labour force,” Rõivas said. According to him, a wide range of differentiations were discussed during the coalition agreements. The only differentiation whose elimination was in fact never discussed was that on the VAT of medicinal products. “We discussed all the other differentiations, but not as promises of the Reform party or someone’s definite plans to be put in action, but rather as sources of funding for reducing the tax burden of the labour force, increasing child benefits, and ensuring strong national defence,” the Prime Minister explained. He added that these decisions should not be viewed as the actions of one single political party. “All these topics which we have agreed upon in the coalition agreement are common issues of the three parties,” Rõivas stated.

“If we are to analyse whether it is possible for us to also accommodate the businesses who say that a sudden elimination of VAT differentiation would significantly affect their activities, I think we will find that it is,” the Prime Minister remarked. He explained that today it’s the partners of the government coalition who are looking for ways to alleviate the increase in the VAT of accommodation providers. “We will discuss this tomorrow while compiling the national budget strategy. I rather think that we will find a sensible solution,” Rõivas said. He emphasises the importance of knowing that the revenue and expenses must be balanced in the national budget strategy, and money should be found for the fields that need it the most from the state budget.

The Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi answered the question of Martin Helme about the financing of private schools, the question of Mailis Reps about the financing of education, and the question of Krista Aru about the financing of higher education and research.

The Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants answered the question of Rein Ratas about the alleviation of the possibilities to use land units located in deposits, and the question of Raivo Põldaru about managing ecological reserves.

The Riigikogu Press Service

Gunnar Paal, +372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837