Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE), both of which are in the Estonian government coalition with the Reform Party, want to see significantly more exemptions from the much-discussed car tax for people with disabilities. Eesti 200 also want an exemption for large families.
Estonian Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) has promised to present a new version of the draft car tax bill to the public shortly. Liisa-Ly Pakosta, a member of Eesti 200's Riigikogu group, told ERR that her party believes the tax should take more account of people with disabilities.
"For people with disabilities, a car is a basic necessity. They can't easily get from point A to point B without a car," Pakosta said. "That's why we provide parking cards for free, because, as a society, people with special needs need more mobility. This is what we have said from the beginning, that we want to see a clear exception here."
Lauri Läänemets, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), also said that an exemption for people with disabilities is needed. "It has always been our position that without it, the draft will definitely not be adopted."
In the version of the bill presented so far, an exception has been made for vehicles that have been specially adapted for people with disabilities.
However, the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People (EPIK) pointed out that this would still exclude most of the people who require an exemption. The chamber believes the exemption ought to apply to more than 80,000 disabled people.
Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev has so far said that the majority of people with disabilities should receive support via social benefits, which are being prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
According to Lauri Läänemets, the exemption from the car tax should, at the very least, apply to those, who have already been issued parking cards due to disabilities.
"Now it's just a question of whether the bill will move from the government to the Riigikogu and we will make the final changes there. Or we make them in the government. It's a question of approach, but without a suitable solution for people with disabilities, the bill will certainly not be passed," Läänemets said.
Eesti 200 also wants the tax to include an exemption for large families. "After all, the state is forcing large families to buy bigger vehicles, due to the rules we have for the safe transportation of children. If the state has made this type of demand, then the state must take it into account," Pakosta said.
When the finance minister presented the car tax bill in October, he confirmed that large families would not get an exemption. At that time, he pointed out that it is also possible to opt for among a more economical car, adding that there are very good benefits available for large families in Estonia.
According to Läänemets, it would be a good thing if large families could be exempted from the tax.
"However, this is not our primary demand, because maybe there is another solution that can be found. After all, the minister of social affairs has suggested that some kind of solution could be found through subsidies," Läänemets said.
The SDE agree with Eesti 200 that the car tax should not be charged for vehicles, which are not actively registered.
"For example, we have a vintage vehicle park (in Järva-Jaani – ed.). I can't imagine that they are going to pay car tax on hundreds of vehicles," said Läänemets.
Editor: Michael Cole