Parliament pulls all-nighter to pass tax change bill ({{commentsTotal}})

The Parliament building in Tallinn at night
The Parliament building in Tallinn at night Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)
{{1433398406000 | amCalendar}}

Opposition members used filibustering tactics to keep MPs at work until 04:00 on Thursday morning as the heavily criticized tax change bill passed its first reading in the Parliament. The session lasted for as long as 14 hours.

“The opposition is against the tax hikes the government has approved and thinks the Parliament is a mere formality,” Center Party faction head Kadri Simson said.

She said the bill contains elements which her party is willing to back, such an increase in the tax free minimum but added that the bill also includes fuel excise tax and tax on accommodation businesses increases.

Remo Holsmer, head of the Finance Committee, said that dragging out proceedings could jeopardize a number of benefit increases.

The drawn out session means the Parliament will likely hold an extraordinary session on June 15.

The tax rate shuffle package includes decreasing social tax from 33 percent to 32.5 in 2017 and to 32 percent in 2018. The tax-free minimum will increase to 205 euros per month by 2019. Tax on accommodation businesses will increase from 9 percent to 14 percent in 2017. Duty on alcohol and tobacco will increase by 15, not 10 percent as initially planned. Tax on fuel will increase by 10 percent each year for three years from 2016, among other changes.

Editor: J.M. Laats