TALLINN – A plenary sitting of the Estonian parliament at a third reading on Wednesday will start handling the more than 10 billion euro state budget bill for 2018.
According to the bill, the size of expenditures and investments set out by the budget is 10.58 billion euros and of income 10.33 billion euros. This is the current government's first full budget, which expresses the aims of the coalition.
Expenditures and investments are bigger by 922 million euros or 9.5 percent and income bigger by 986 million euros or 10.6 percent than this year. The state budget for next year is estimating economic growth next year to be 3.3 percent and is planning it with a 0.25 percent minus.
At the proposal of the finance committee, the budget bill was expanded by increasing regional investments, supporting various third sector and civil society projects as one-off expenses with 4 million euros. The source to cover that gap is reducing the government's special-purpose reserve by the same amount.
During the second reading the budget received 50 amendment proposals submitted by MPs and parliamentary groups, which were not supported by the parliament's finance committee. The finance committee independently drew up 20 proposals, which for the most part consist of a number of technical amendments between and within the areas of government of ministries as well as clarified and adding paragraphs of text. Altogether nine amendment proposals were filed for the third reading, four of which were compiled by the finance committee. The leading committee decided to not take into account proposals filed by the opposition.
The government decided to decrease the government sector's structural budget deficit compared to what was planned in the state's budget strategy by half, so that it would reach a close to balance 0.25 percent of GDP.
According to the 2018-2021 state budget strategy compiled in spring, the government's four major goals are to increase the Estonian population, to increase societal welfare and coherence, to bring Estonia out of a financial standstill, and to retain and strengthen Estonia's security.