2023 state budget bill passes second Riigikogu reading
The government's 2023 state budget bill passed its second Riigikogu reading on Wednesday.
MPs and Riigikogu party groups submitted 56 amendments to the bill between the first reading and the second, of which all bar one were rejected by the parliamentary finance committee.
The one amendment which the committee took into consideration concerned salary hikes – not for MPs, but for Riigikogu staff, which had been set at the same level for several years, ERR reported earlier this month (link in Estonian).
The finance committee itself also made amendments to the bill concerning clarification on the dividing line between different ministries' areas of governmental responsibility, and two other amendments relating to Riigikogu office expenses and the water fee rate.
The new, revised bill sees state revenues set at €15.58 billion for 2023, while expenses will total €16.81 billion.
Investments will total close to €775 million, a rise of around €30 million on this year's figure.
The 2023 tax burden will run at 33.3 percent of GDP; the structural budget deficit will remain at 2.6 percent.
The bill must pass through one more reading before it can be sent for presidential assent; no substantive amendments can be made to the draft as it is now, and only typos and other small errors can be changed.
Any such amendments must be submitted by 5.15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30.
The reading is set for the second week in December with a view to the bill entering into force before the Christmas break.
The other part of the process, political parties "protection money" submissions, must be fueled next Monday.
This money concerns lump sums doled out to parties to go towards a wide range of social and cultural projects, often in the regions, of their choice, and has been referred to by some as a method of "greasing the wheels" in terms of getting cross-party support for the bill to pass.
Supplementary budgets can be issued also during the course of the year and this has happened every year since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming