TALLINN – Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets from the Social Democratic Party (SDE) said at a government press conference on Thursday that national defense should be financed with a loan or a new national defense tax, because funds currently come from the salary rises of teachers, cultural workers and rescuers.
"It must be paid back by the taxpayer in the end both through a loan and a tax. But we have to understand that money does not come from inside a wall, that is, the money, the billion that we invest in national defense today, actually comes at a price, which is that it will be difficult to raise the salaries of police officers, rescuers, and teachers, because this money is simply not in the state budget," Laanemets said.
Prime Minister and Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas said that, in her opinion, a national defense tax would not be reasonable. "We are all paying a war tax at the moment and we are paying it in the form of inflation. To go and say that we are going to impose a new tax on you while we are talking about supporting businesses, supporting people, does not seem at all reasonable to me," she said.
Minister of Public Administration and Isamaa member Riina Solman said that Isamaa is also in favor of tax peace, but would support a national defense loan.
Laanemets stressed that the goal is not the imposition of a tax in itself and it is possible that other options for financing national defense will be developed during government discussions. According to him, no agreements have been made regarding a loan.