At today’s plenary sitting, the deliberation of the matter of significant national importance “Tax system – chaos or consideration” was held on the proposal of the Reform Party Faction. The speakers stressed the importance of a clear and stable tax system that supported enterprise.
In his speech, Chairman of the Estonian Reform Party Faction Jürgen Ligi said that if the tax system was to be changed, it needed to be motivated by a desire to raise the competitiveness of the Estonian economy. “Progressive income tax is definitely a path in the wrong direction, because it sets higher taxes on the types of work we wish to encourage, and lower taxes on the type of work we do not actually wish to promote, that is, the low-wage economy,” Ligi said. He added that in the future it should be considered how to reduce the tax burden on labour.
Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Toomas Luman said that undertakings wished for a simple and clear tax system that would be understandable to all and that would require as low administrative costs as possible. “The tax system must not hinder earning income, or entrepreneurship. Taxpayers must be treated equally, without creating unjustified advantages for anyone, without facilitating market distortions, and the basis on which a tax is collected must be as wide as possible,” Luman said.
Dmitri Jegorov, Deputy Secretary General for Tax and Customs Policy of the Ministry of Finance, noted that the belief in the omnipotence of tax policy was unfounded. Before starting to solve the problem with tax changes, in his words, it should be assured if it is the most efficient solution. Jegorov added that the stability of the tax system was a value in its own right. “It creates certainty, it brings investments. And good taxes hinder economic growth the least, but economic growth must reach everyone.”
During the debate, Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Centre Party), Eiki Nestor (Social Democratic Party), Enn Meri (Estonian Free Party), Sven Sester (Isamaa), Maris Lauri (Reform Party), Marika Tuus-Laul (Centre Party), Taavi Rõivas (Reform Party), Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party), Aivar Sõerd (Reform Party) and Peeter Ernits took the floor.
A Bill passed the first reading:
The Bill on Amendments to the State Budget for 2018 Act (695 SE), initiated by the Government, will change the current distribution of funds, but not the state budget volume. Every ministry submitted proposals concerning its area of government, where it would be necessary to direct more funds this year. 53 motions to amend the Bill have been submitted in total.
The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and Other Acts (699 SE), initiated by the Government, was adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the plenary. The Bill is intended to establish a favourable excise duty rate for natural gas, which would be 11.30 euro per 1000 m3, for undertakings with intensive gas consumption. The first reading of the Bill will continue at tomorrow’s plenary sitting.
The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Services Organisation Act and the Medicinal Products Act (689 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, was also postponed to Wednesday’s sitting due to the end of the working hours. The Bill will enable cross-border digital exchange of health data. This concerns both treatment data and prescriptions.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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