Riigikogu committee chair: Oppositions' key budget amends unrealistic

Riigikogu finance committee chair Aivar Kokk (Isamaa).
Riigikogu finance committee chair Aivar Kokk (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Chair of the Riigikogu's finance committee Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) says he does not find the two most significant amendment proposals from the two opposition parties, Reform and the Social Democratic Party (SDE), to be realistic.

Reform's proposal that the state budget should be structurally balanced by 2023 was not feasible, in his view, and not even a serious proposal.

"While I certainly suport structural balance myself, no one knows today what situation next spring, summer or autumn will bring," Kokk said.

"If we overcome the coronavirus and the economy recovers, it is realistic to get structural balance in 2024-2025, but if we have a repeat next spring of last spring, when the economy ground to a halt in some sectors for two to three months, then borrowing will most likely be on the table," he went on.

As reported on ERR News, Reform tabled a total of 10 amendments to the bill, which is at the Riigikogu at present with a view to passing before year-end, while SDE came up with 19 both as a group and from individual MPs.

Kokk thought that most of the proposals were realistic, apart from Reform's as noted, and also SDE's call for guaranteed care home places for those without a pension.

"Reading the proposals today, they are all seem very good. But this all depends on how much capacity and space there is in the budget to meet all these desires. The opposition has made some proposals which are thought-through, and some of them will likely be adopted by the committee," he went on, noting Reform's call to make the average pension income tax-exempt was reasonable.

Amendments have also been proposed by the coalition parties, Kokk noted, with cuts in charges for using waterways being the most significant of these, in his opinion.

The committee is to discuss the proposals on Wednesday.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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