Riina Sikkut (SDE), who is involved in coalition talks, said that the Social Democrats do not want to raise taxes for the sake of raising taxes, but that in an exceptional security situation, defense investment is unavoidable.
Sikkut is not surprised by the €750 million deficit in the national budget.
"It was clear during previous coalition talks in the summer that the revenue side should be restructured, but a government taking office for 7.5 months in a crisis situation - with our top priorities being livelihoods, defense spending, and the energy crisis - did not consider it appropriate to begin overhauling the tax system. In fact, during coalition negotiations, we said that this would be an issue for the next coalition. That is why we are having these discussions now," Sikkut said.
"This government's primary goal is not to cut spending. We have a unique opportunity: we have a relatively unanimous group of negotiators who recognize that the mandate can last up to four years. We have the opportunity to implement critical and necessary reforms in a number of areas, including budget revenue and expenditure," Sikkut said.
"No, we are not going to start cutting immediately, but will take a close look at what Estonia needs to do to move forward," she added.
"If we want the Estonian education system to be the greatest in the world, we must allocate sufficient funds. Because we are a small country with a unique situation and security issues, we will have to raise the taxes," Sikkut said.
"A person's salary should be sufficient to support them and by lowering the tax burden on the poor, the wealthy will almost certainly have to pay more. We have not yet made any concrete tax decisions," Sikkut added.
Sikkut went to say that the election results show the Estonian people's preference for a modern, pro-Western state that represents both security and self-sufficiency. "Also important, we should try to avoid the rise of right-wing populists and pro-Kremlin rhetoric," Sikkut said.
"We are a long way from ministerial portfolios, but I really like my job," Sikkut said.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa