Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning the allegedly unconstitutional activities of Prime Minister (No 407), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Tiit Kuusmik, Toomas Varek, Kalle Laanet, Arvo Sarapuu, Olga Sõtnik, Aivar Riisalu, Helle Kalda, Vladimir Velman, Nikolai Põdramägi, Kalev Kallo, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas, Jüri Ratas, Evelyn Sepp, Lembit Kaljuvee, Eldar Efendijev, Jaak Aab, Kadri Simson, Valeri Korb, Marika Tuus and Rein Ratas on 17 March. The interpellation touched on the amendment to the Income Tax Act which had reduced the amount of the share of local government units of the income tax of natural persons to 11.4 per cent instead of 11.93 per cent.
The Prime Minister noted that in clause 104 of its judgment of 16 March the Supreme Court had noted that the adaptation period between the publication and entry into force of the provision of amendment of the Income Tax Act had been sufficient and it had not been in conflict with the principle of legal certainty. The amendment was not so extensive as to have had a deep influence at the moment of its entry into force. “I remind you that at that moment Estonia was in the most serious global economic crisis of the last 80 years which we are beginning to overcome only now. As we know, speed and decisiveness are of cardinal importance in managing in a crisis,” explained the Prime Minister
According to Ansip, the obligations of local governments were also changed in connection with reduction of the share of income tax in order to reduce the pressure on the expenses of local governments. Obligations were reduced in the sphere of pre-school child care institutions, youth work and sports activities. “As the decision of the Supreme Court of 16 March indicates, the existing legal order has to be analysed, which the Government has already started to do, and a system of financing of local government functions has to be created that would enable to assess the sufficiency of financing of local government functions on a case-by-case basis,” said Ansip.
In the opinion of the Supreme Court, the state must have an opportunity to shape the financing system of local government functions so that it would correspond to the general economic situation and the economic and monetary policy objectives of the state. “When the decisions for coping with the impacts of the economic recession were made, the principle of solidarity was used as a basis,” said Ansip. The state measures for improving the balance of the government sector amounted to 19 billion kroons in 2009, of which no more than one billion kroons concerned local governments. Ansip said that these measures had been previously discussed with local government associations. “Had the local governments been ready to reduce their budget deficit, the measures concerning them might have been significantly smaller,” found Ansip. In 2009 the state budget revenue from taxes, excluding social tax, decreased by 11.8 per cent in comparison to 2007. The revenues the local governments received from taxes and block subsidies and payments from equalisation fund decreased by 5.8 per cent during the same period. In Ansip’s opinion, the impact of the economic recession and the measures has been significantly smaller on local governments.
The Prime Minister replied to three more interpellations. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning supporting of the Estonian Real Property Owners Central Union from the state budget funds (No 410), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Helle Kalda, Georg Pelisaar, Inara Luigas, Lauri Laasi, Enn Eesmaa, Eldar Efendijev, Nelli Privalova, Vladimir Velman, Kalev Kallo, Toivo Tootsen, Nikolai Põdramägi, Evelyn Sepp, Ain Seppik, Kadri Simson and Valeri Korb on 23 March;
the interpellation concerning fuel business at the Estonian-Russian border (No 412), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aivar Riisalu, Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Toomas Varek, Georg Pelisaar, Lauri Laasi, Inara Luigas, Enn Eesmaa, Kalle Laanet, Arvo Sarapuu, Nikolai Põdramägi and Evelyn Sepp on 23 March;
the interpellation concerning the Estonian tax system (No 424), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Lembit Kaljuvee, Kalev Kallo, Marika Tuus, Nikolai Põdramägi and Inara Luigas on 6 April.
The Minister of Culture Laine Jänes replied to three interpellations. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning organisation of Chess Olympiad 2016 in Estonia (No 406), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, Jüri Tamm, Jüri Ratas, Kalle Laanet, Enn Eesmaa, Evelyn Sepp, Mark Soosaar, Kalev Kotkas and Heljo Pikhof on 17 March;
the interpellation concerning organisation of the media landscape in Tartu region (No 427), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Marika Tuus, Heimar Lenk, Kadri Simson, Mailis Reps, Nikolai Põdramägi, Valeri Korb and Toomas Varek on 8 April;
the interpellation concerning the Estonian National Broadcasting (No 434), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Lauri Laasi, Toivo Tootsen and Nikolai Põdramägi on 15 April.
The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi replied to three interpellations. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning Estonia falling among the five last countries in the world (No 404), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Lauri Laasi, Kadri Simson, Valeri Korb, Tiit Kuusmik, Georg Pelisaar and Kalle Laanet on 11 March;
the interpellation concerning high service charges at Estonian CSD (No 411), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Georg Pelisaar, Kadri Simson, Kalev Kallo, Nikolai Põdramägi, Helle Kalda and Vladimir Velman on 23 March;
the interpellation concerning decreasing receipt of social tax (No 419), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Helle Kalda, Vladimir Velman, Nikolai Põdramägi, Evelyn Sepp, Valeri Korb, Lembit Kaljuvee and Inara Luigas on 23 March.
The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler did not have to reply to the interpellation concerning politisation of county governors (No 408), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet, Tiit Kuusmik, Nikolai Põdramägi, Vladimir Velman, Enn Eesmaa, Arvo Sarapuu, Toomas Varek, Aivar Riisalu and Ain Seppik on 18 March, because the interpellators withdrew it.
During the open microphone, Lembit Kaljuvee took the floor.
The sitting ended at 8.04 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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