The Riigikogu has adopted Estonia’s 2019 state budget, the total volume of which exceeds EUR 11 billion.
Altogether 52 MPs voted in favor and 46 against the 2019 State Budget Act, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said.
23 proposed amendments submitted ahead of the third reading of the state budget bill were reviewed on December 12, three of which made by the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu were supported.
The bill’s third reading saw an increase in regional investments, and various third sector and civic society projects were supported as one-off expenses in the amount of EUR 7.3 million. The source for covering this change will be the reduction of the government reserve in the same amount.
According to Minister of Finance Toomas Toniste (Pro Patria), the 2019 budget reflects Estonia’s stable economic growth and will contribute to the growth of the country’s economy, welfare and defense capability without additional taxes and increases in debt burden, spokespeople for the Ministry of Finance said.
“The financial matters of the Estonian state are in good order,” Toniste said. “Estonia is in the financial premier league of Europe and the entire world. International ratings agencies also highlight Estonia as a country with extraordinarily strong finance. The ratings agency Fitch recently raised the rating of the Estonian state and emphasised the good condition of the state’s finance.”
Toniste added that the 2019 state budget would also maintain a tax peace.
“We will not raise taxes or impose new taxes next year that would hinder our economic growth,” he noted. “Our state budget is balanced, and the debt burden of the government sector will decrease next year as well.”
The 2019 state budget includes EUR 11.06 in income, up by 6.1%, or by EUR 639.5 million, compared to the 2018 budget. Expenditures and investments in 2019, meanwhile, are to total EUR 11.32 billion, up by 7%, or EUR by 735 million.
The government sector budget will run a nominal surplus of approximately EUR 130 million, or 0.5% of the GDP, and will be in structural balance next year. The income of the entire government sector will total EUR 11.21 billion, and expenses and investments EUR 11.08 billion. The nominal surplus of the budget will allow for the decreasing of the government sector’s debt burden and paying back loans in the approximate amount of EUR 70 million per year over the next few years.
The tax burden in 2019 will total 33.6% of the GDP, remaining at approximately the same level as over the past three years. The EU average debt burden, in comparison, is 40% of the GDP.
The expenses of the Estonian government sector will remain at approximately 40% of the GDP next year. The central government’s portion thereof will account for some 33%, which likewise isn’t a significant change compared to previous years. (ERR/Business World Magazine)