Fringe parties promise tax shakeup ({{commentsTotal}})

Parliament Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The political parties that are currently not in the Parliament, have promised to take on tax reform, if they manage to pass the 5-percent election threshold at the beginning of March.

Head of the Conservative People's Party, Mart Helme, said that VAT should be cut to 10 percent (currently at 20 percent). “We definitely want to tax capital taken out of Estonia, and not by a small amount,” adding that billions of euros are taken out of the country, ERR radio reported.

“We would not tax it if it were reinvested in Estonia,” he said, adding that Estonian foreign aid is one source of cover for a VAT cut, with 0.7-0.8 percent of GDP donated to foreign causes.

Margus Maidla of the Free Party said the tax-free minimum should be increased from the current 144 euros per month to 400 euros. “I believe the most important subject in the Estonian society is not to maximize wealth, but to minimize poverty,” he said, adding that labor taxes should be decreased.

The Green Party's aim is to put an end to the suffering of the 100,000 people who live below the poverty line in Estonia. The party, according to Deputy Chairman Olev Tinn, also wants to give people more power over where their tax euros end up.

He said 2 percent of a taxpayer's income tax should go to areas of his or her choice. That would bring people closer to local and national power.

The Party of People's Unity did not answer to a request by ERR radio.

According to monthly polls by TNS Emor, none of the fringe parties are close to passing the 5-percent threshold.

The Greens and the Conservative People's Party both polled at 2 percent, the others closer to 1 percent. Although both the Greens and Helme's party have polled at 4 percent in the past few months, the last time anyone outside the big four of the Reform Party, the Center Party, IRL and the Social Democrats, was backed by 5 percent of voters, was in August 2013, when the Greens briefly enjoyed a 5-percent rating.

Although the poll does have an margin of error, the Greens missed out nearly four years ago with only 3.8 percent of the vote. The predecessor of the Conservative People's Party took home 2.1 percent of the vote. No other small party won more than 1 percent of the vote at the 2011 national elections.

Editor: L. Velsker, J.M. Laats

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