Ratas: 2018 state budget that of a more equitable Estonia
Addressing the Riigikogu on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said that the Estonian government will use next year's state budget to contribute to improving people's living environment, increasing social equality, ensuring security as well as long-term and sustainable growth for the economy.
When introducing the bill for the state budget, Ratas said that the government's fiscal policy is strong and responsible, the debt burden of the government sector will decrease, the tax burden will not increase, and, based on the current prognosis, the government sector's budgetary position will be close to balance.
"Next year, the state's revenue and expenditures will, for the first time, exceed €10 billion," the prime minister highlighted. "The state budget will allocate €3.1 billion to the social sector, €1.4 billion to healthcare, and €1 billion to education. Investments into the field of defense, in the sum of €528 million, will exceed last year's investments by €26 million. This will be the largest defense budget in Estonian history."
According to Ratas, the state budget is one of the most important instruments for improving life in Estonia. "Therefore, we have made several fundamental changes in our policy options compared to the previous government," he noted. "Our aim is to reduce inequality and move toward a more balanced society. This will be achieved with the basic exemption reform, healthcare reform and increase in the revenue base of local governments, as well as a number of important investments which had been postponed for far too long."
The prime minister confirmed that the government has, with clear choices in the state budget, placed more emphasis on combating inequality. "This does not imply sacrificing success or paying due to economic development," he added. "Quite the contrary — a more equal society is also more united, a more united society in turn is stronger, and a stronger society will grow faster."
Editor: Aili Vahtla