Riigikogu finance committee sends state budget for third reading
The finance committee of the Riigikogu reviewed the amendments to the draft state budget for 2022 received for the third reading on Tuesday and sent the draft to the third reading.
The parliamentary groups of the Riigikogu submitted 44 amendments to the budget, which were not supported because the sources of coverage were not suitable, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said. The finance committee, for its part, drafted an amendment adjusting the budget within the areas of governance and including proposals from the parliamentary groups that received partial support.
Committee chairman Andrei Korobeinik (Center) said that proposals for regional investments would be reviewed and a decision would be made at the next meeting of the finance committee.
"The proposals received by the committee aim to allocate regional investment funds to third sector, municipal and civil society projects, the Cancer Society, local communities, kindergartens, schools, cultural projects, sports associations, congregations and other volunteer organizations," Korobeinik said. The volume of the proposals is €2.78 million.
In the course of the state budget proceedings, it was agreed that this time up to €3 million will be distributed among the members of the Riigikogu, of which €30,000 are meant for each member of the Riigikogu. It was agreed that the amount of one proposal could not be less than €5,000.
A prerequisite for allocating money to non-profit associations and foundations for regional investments is that they must have been in operation for at least the second year and the association must have submitted the previous year's financial report.
According to Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), deputy chairman of the finance committee, regional investments are necessary to ensure the viability of many projects also outside the major centers. He said it is positive that the committee supported proposals to boost the competitiveness of the maritime sector. "Reducing the waterway fee by 50 percent and supporting international passenger shipping are important amendments," Kokk said.
He said that, unfortunately, the budget amendments that should be made in the current tense economic situation were not supported. These include an extraordinary increase in pensions from next year and an exemption from income tax on average pensions thanks to the increase in the budget assets resulting from the second pension pillar becoming voluntary, as well as measures to mitigate the energy price shock and reducing VAT on electricity, gas and heat from 20 percent to 9 percent.
According to the bill, the volume of revenues in next year's state budget totals €13.13 billion, expenditures amount to €13.64 billion and investments will be made in the amount of €716 million. The volume of expenditures exceeds the volume of revenues, but the structural position has improved both compared to the previous year and the state budget strategy for 2022-2025.
The third reading of the draft state budget for 2022 is scheduled for the December 8 sitting of the parliament.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste