Regarding the recently reported on state budget strategy for 2018-2021, former Minister of Finance Maris and current Reform Party member Lauri considers it frightening that it includes a significant deficit and plans to dip into the state's reserves.
Speaking on ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera," Lauri said that based on available information about the budget strategy, whose exact final numbers have yet to be published, it was frightening to see that a very large deficit had been planned into the strategy which is planned to be covered by new or increased taxes, which can cast doubt on whether forecasts on the matter are adequate.
"But in my opinion, the worst thing is that reserves will be used," she continued. "We need reserves for the future, if only because we don't know what may happen. And EU funding will end in 2020. What will we do then?"
The former minister explained that reserves are meant for situations when something happens. "Things can go very seriously wrong in the world," she warned. "If we look at what will happen after 2020, when EU funds will begin to decrease, we need to take into account that the U.K. is exiting the EU and potential amounts that we receive may diminish even further. What will we do then? We will need to make investments, carry out big reforms and we ourselves won't have any money left."
Lauri recalled that throughout the years, the Reform Party had always ruled as a member of a coalition and that proposed solutions were apparently unsuitable. "The issue is always the fact that when there is a coalition government, then compromise must be reached," she said. "And if this compromise isn't suitable for one side, then the point where things come together must be found."
'Distributing money won't solve problems'
In response to the host commenting on the fact that the Reform Party had been incapable of solving the healthcare funding issue but was now criticizing the current ruling coalition in their attempt to do so, Lauri said that the government must seek solutions that are a compromise of multiple partners.
"I'm not sure if simply distributing money to solve some problems will solve them," she commented. "This may briefly evoke the feeling that life is good, but after a couple of years, things will be even worse. Substantive issues need to be solved."
According to the former finance minister, letting the budget go into deficit is justifiable when economic growth is below average. "Economic growth began to pick up at the end of last year," Lauris noted. "It was below potential growth, however all forecasts point to future growth being strong enough and nearly reaching or even exceeding its potential. At that point, there will be no justifying a deficit anymore."
Editor: Aili Vahtla