We should easily be collecting considerably bigger sums from car owners than envisaged in current plans for implementing a car tax — such as €1,000 per vehicle a year, Reform Party honorary chair and MP Siim Kallas said in an opinion piece published by daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) on Tuesday.
"A million vehicles, €1,000 on each — a billion for balancing the budget and restoring financial credibility," Kallas said in Tuesday's piece (link in Estonian). "If our society is going to hold on for dear life to benefits it gets from the state, then it has to contribute adequately to state revenues as well."
Under the car tax legislative intent drawn up by the Ministry of Finance, a vehicle's annual tax burden would depend on its cubic capacity, mass as well as age, and the state would start levying the new tax next summer. The annual tax on a 2017 diesel-engine Škoda Octavia, for example, could total €145.
Kallas also disagrees with spending money from the budget on road construction.
"Estonian [road construction companies] are demanding €4 billion for the construction of roads," he noted. "There are more than a million vehicles listed in the traffic register (per the Transport Administration director in the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu). So we'll need €4,000 per car for road construction. €8,000 from a family with two cars. Why do we want money for road construction to come at the expense of the wages of our our children's and grandchildren's teachers, our police officers, our doctors?"
Kallas noted that car traffic is a major burden on society, and in Europe and the U.S. alike, this burden is shared with motorists. "Car taxes, road tolls, tolls for using tunnels and bridges," he cited as examples. "Owning a car isn't a necessity; it's a perk, but it isn't poverty relief. In addition to rationalization of traffic, it's considered normal everywhere that taxing car traffic also fills state coffers."
According to the results of a recent survey commissioned by the Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) and conducted by Norstat in late July, 21 percent of respondents supported while 72 percent were against the implementation of the proposed car tax.
Those against the new tax clearly outweighed those in favor of it across all sociodemographic groups, including by age, education level and income level. The only group in which proponents of the new tax outnumbered those against it was Reform Party voters.
Editor: Aili Vahtla