Reform Party likely to filibuster budget bill if social tax cut dropped
Wednesday this week is the deadline for proposals to change the 2017 state budget bill. The bill was drafted by the previous government, and the new coalition is planning changes, which is why the Reform Party is preparing countermeasures, which could mean marathon sittings of the Riigikogu.
Daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote on Monday that the Reform party was mainly waiting to see whether or not Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’ government was planning to drop the 0.5% social tax cut planned for next year. Officials of new coalition had said on several occasions that this was what they were planning to do.
“For a start, overturning lowering social tax is principally the wrong direction. Labor taxes in Estonia need to be lowered, not new taxes invented,” former Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kristen Michal, told the paper. “Second, following the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as that of entrepreneurs, the law stipulates that changes to the disadvantage of the taxpayer need to be announced by the legislative at least half a year in advance.”
According to Finance Committee member Kalvi Kõva (SDE), the coalition is still considering changing existing taxes, and the question is if there is a serious enough reason to justify the change with less than six months’ notice.
Michal pointed out that the Reform Party would certainly consider its options if the coalition would undertake such a change. “There are parliamentary as well as legal options,” Michal said, pointing out that the previous chairman of the Finance Committee had already submitted a request for analysis to the Chancellor of Justice to see whether or not such a change would be legally acceptable.
The Chancellor of Justice had opined that this could be done only quoting extraordinarily grave reasons, Michal pointed out.
Kõva said in response that if the Reform Party intended to stage marathon sittings, like the Center Party had done it when it was in opposition, the coalition parties would be there to sit through those as well.