Prime Minister replied to interpellations concerning issues relating to state budget
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas replied to the interpellation concerning the sources for covering the state budget expenditure planned by the new Government coalition (No 401), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Lauri Laasi, Peeter Võsa, Aivar Riisalu, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Valeri Korb, Vladimir Velman, Enn Eesmaa, Eldar Efendijev, Tarmo Tamm, Jüri Ratas, Kalev Kallo, Priit Toobal, Urbo Vaarmann, Viktor Vassiljev, Yana Toom and Mailis Reps on 16 April.
The interpellation focused more specifically on the sustainability of the commitments undertaken in the coalition agreement. The interpellators referred to the fact that the agreement had promised to raise various supports and at the same time to lower taxes which would inevitably bring about a situation of additional pressure on the state budget. The interpellators noted that many promises would remain expenditures for the state budget not only this year, but in the following years as well.
In Rõivas’ words, the coalition agreement has been fully taken into account in the Budget Strategy of the State for 2015‒2018, approved at the Government sitting of 29 April. According to the Prime Minister’s explanations, the financial plan for the coming years includes, among other things, temporary revenue measures such as additional dividends, as well as temporary expenditure measures, for example, additional investments of the State Real Estate Ltd, and the European Union presidency. “However, on the whole, they do not have a decisive influence neither on the revenue nor on the expenditure. In the Budget Strategy of the State for 2015‒2018, the structural budget position is aimed at surplus in all years, with the exception of the year after the next year, 2016, when the revenues and expenditures of the structural budget position will be expected to be equal,” Rõivas said. He noted that, in addition, the nominal budget position is expected to improve annually so that, instead of the 0.7% deficit expected this year, there will be a surplus to the extent of 0.5% in 2018.
Rõivas explained that the aim of the coalition agreement is to stimulate economic growth and increase employment through the reduction of the tax burden of labour force. In his words, this will increase the welfare of all residents, including those with low wage. “The reduction of the inequality of income will be achieved, among other things, by increasing the basic exemption rate from the 144 euro per month in 2014 to 184 euro per month in 2018,” Rõivas said. He noted that the increase of the basic exemption rate is known to have a greater influence on those with low wage. Both universal and needs-based child benefits will also be raised significantly which is again targeted specifically at lower-income households. “In order to improve the subsistence of the elderly, this year, we have increased pensions by an average of 5.8%, which means 240 euro per year, that is, 20 additional euros per month. Next year, besides a pension rise of at least the same size, it can also be expected that the parental pension continues to be exempt from income tax,” Rõivas explained.
The Prime Minister also replied to interpellations concerning the expected deficit of the state budget (No 402) and wage poverty and quality of life in Estonia (No 404).
During the open microphone, Andrus Ansip and Marika Tuus-Laul took the floor.
The sitting ended at 5.54 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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