SDE could prefer to stick with current coalition, but... (2)
The board of the Social Democrats (SDE) discussed the 15 proposals made to coalition partners the Reform Party and IRL, and the two party's reactions. SDE found that the two parties were unenthusiastic, but SDE would prefer to keep negotiating rather than seek new coalition partners.
SDE Chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski was given a mandate to negotiate with the Reform Party and IRL. “There was no talk of whether to keep the proposals or change them. That means the amendment proposals are exactly as the board decided at the last meeting and the board stuck with all the ideas,” Inara Luigas, the party's secretary general, said.
The most ambitious and talked-about proposal is to double the monthly tax-free minimum to 400 euros, meaning that only those earning an income of more than 400 euros per month, will begin to pay income tax. The party proposes to increase the income tax rate from 20 to 24 percent. Reform Party Chairman and Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has already said the idea is a non-starter.
SDE board member Andres Anvelt said they are ready to compromise, but are yet to hear any counter proposals from its coalition partners. He said his party are planning a special council meeting at the end of the month to decide if they want to continue in the government.
“The Reform Party has been stubborn and resolute and they have a good reason to be, as they know very well that despite talk and threats by the Social Democrats, SDE realistically does not have any alternatives to the current coalition. There has been talk of the Social Democrats going into coalition with the Center Party. Firstly, that would create questions inside the party, and they do not have a majority in Parliament,” political scientist Tõnis Saarts said.
Ossinovski said on Sunday they would prefer to move forward with the current coalition partners, adding that it would depend on an agreement and on compromise.
Reform Party against tax hikes
The board of the ruling Reform Party met on Friday evening, saying that the majority of the SDE proposals are already in the current coalition agreement, signed in April.
The party does not support increasing the tax-free minimum and the income tax rate. Rõivas said the topic was discussed during the first coalition talks, and the three parties compromised at 205 euros per month, not the 400 euros SDE is now proposing.