Opposition, Coalition Forces Debate Budget on Air
Both sides of Parliament said there is much to praise in the 2015 state budget, as Parliament prepares to open debate.
Speaking on ETV's “Foorum” program IRL MP Margus Tsahkna said the increase in child benefits and keeping defense spending at 2 percent of GDP are positive, but the 100-million euro deficit should be tackled.
Center Party MP Jüri Ratas added the free school lunches program for all pupils and the increase in the tax-free minimum to the list of positives. He said the drop in income tax by 1 percentage point will rob the state of 75 million euros next year, which could be used to increase teacher salaries and keep more police in rural areas.
The government has called it a security budget, both in the realm of social security and defense. Reform Party MP Remo Holsmer said unemployment premiums will decrease, and the defense budget will increase, adding that the budget is 400 million euros larger than in 2014, but the state can not squeeze any more out.
SDE Parliament faction head Indrek Saar said the state is showing it can tackle the demographic situation.
Parliamentary debates of the state budget have a tradition of being very fiery, and the opposition has often used filibustering tactics to draw out the proceedings.
The budget has been approved by the government and will debated in the Finance Committee, after which it will head to the Parliament floor for debate and voting.