President signs tax package and 2017 budget into law (2)
President Kersti Kaljulaid promulgated the government’s tax package as well as the 2017 state budget on Friday. Kaljulaid criticized the tactics applied by interest groups and the opposition to derail the bills.
Kaljulaid said that not signing the tax package into law she would have interfered with fiscal policy to an extent for which her position did not give her a mandate, adding though that she was doing so despite the circumstances under which the bills were passed.
The president criticized the coalition parties, saying that she regarded it her duty to point out the issues that had come with the introduction of the government’s changes. Finance Minister Sven Sester (IRL) had submitted changes to the previous government’s tax bill that were substantial, and in fact a completely new proposal.
This proposal had not been made and discussed as a bill.
Kaljulaid’s criticism referred to complaints on the part of the opposition Reform Party that the changed bill did not meet the requirement of granting those affected by the changes at least six months’ notice. Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise had agreed with the assessment, saying that only very grave reasons would allow changing the bill to the extent that was proposed.
In her statement on Friday the president opined that the changes to the law now introduced should be analyzed for their constitutionality, but also said that it was not within the tasks of the president to question individual paragraphs of a new law.
Had she not promulgated the tax package, she would have had to do the same with next year’s budget bill, Kaljulaid stated.
Kaljulaid added that she and the Chancellor of Justice agreed that the president promulgating a new law and the chancellor then analyzing it made sense, as the latter had the means to actually question parts of a law.