2014 Budget Passed, Slight Deficit Predicted
Parliament today passed next year's 8-billion euro budget, with the forecast deficit at 38 million euros.
The budget, the first ever to pass the 8-billion mark, has received criticism from both the opposition and coalition members in recent weeks.
Despite the best efforts of Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi to cut VAT deductions on business-owned vehicles, a number of coalition MPs and the opposition rejected the idea. As the income from the planned cut was already written into the budget, Cabinet members had to reach deep to find the missing 24 million euros.
Opposition parties criticized the budget for failing to increase the 19-euro monthly child allowance, which has not been increased in a decade.
The projected income is 8.018 billion, up 5 percent compared to the current year, while expenses are calculated at 8.056 billion euros.
The state forecast a 7.5 billion-euro budget for 2013, with expenditure set at 7.7 billion. In the first ten months of 2013, the budget was far more balanced than predicted, with 6.36 billion euros collected and 6.1 billion spent.
State pensions are set to increase by nearly 6 percent, while health services will receive an additional 70.6 million euros or 8.5 percent. Public sector workers will receive, on average, a 5.1 percent pay rise.
The state investment fund will decrease by 8.9 percent to 832 million euros.