Budget Debate Begins in Parliament, Could Be Cakewalk for Government ({{commentsTotal}})

The annual national budget proceedings begin in Parliament today, but the annual filibustering tactics could be given a miss this year as opposition parties have had little criticism for the budget.

State revenues are expected to increase 7 percent to 8.4 billion euros and expenditure by 6 percent to 8.5 billion.

PM Taavi Rõivas has branded the budget a security budget, both in the social sense, with child benefits and the tax free minimum increasing , while income tax drops by 1 percentage point to 20 percent; and in defense, with defense spending still pegged to 2 percent of GDP.

“According to estimates, the Estonian economy will grow 2.5 percent, but risks are big and events can unfold in a different way. That means our plans have been made with a reserve,” Rõivas said.

Opposition MPs have called the budget an interim-government or election budget. The nationalist conservative party IRL said in a televised debate on the budget in September that the increase in child benefits and defense spending figures are positive. IRL MP Margus Tsahkna said the 100-million-euro deficit should be tackled.

Center Party MP Jüri Ratas said the social nature of the budget is welcome, but that the drop in income tax will rob the state of 75 million euros.

Parliamentary debates on the state budget have a tradition of being very fiery, and the opposition has often used filibustering tactics to draw out the proceedings.

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