The Estonian Association of Cities organized a conference on the partnership relations between the state and local governments on Aug. 25, reports LETA. The keynote speech at the conference was given by the CEO of the association, Taavi Aas. “Are Estonian cities and rural municipalities in need of assistance, or is there a problem in the financing system?” he asked. Aas remarked that life in the Estonian local governments largely depends on the local leaders’ activities, but also on the decisions taken on the national government level. According to the current financing scheme, a majority (approximately 80 percent) of Estonian local governments have a weak revenue basis and need contributions from the budget equalization fund. “Local governments should be guaranteed financial autonomy,” said Aas. According to him, municipalities cannot agree with a situation where the pull centers of all counties in Estonia need to be constantly supported.
Average monthly gross wages and salaries amounted to 12,869 kroons (822 euros) in the second quarter of 2010, show data at Statistics Estonia, reports LETA. Average hourly gross wages and salaries amounted to 75.81 kroons (4.85 euros) during the same period of time. In the year-on-year comparison, the average monthly gross pay grew by 1.2 percent and the average hourly gross pay decreased by 1.7 percent. The average monthly gross wages and salaries had been on a falling trend for five quarters in a row in the year-on-year comparison, but started rising again in the second quarter. The increase was also affected by the decline in the number of persons on holiday without pay. The hourly gross wages and salaries were affected by the fact that in comparison to the second quarter of the previous year, there was one working day more and the average number of hours worked per employee was higher. Real wages (that take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index) decreased for the seventh quarter in succession, but the decline slowed in the second quarter – it was 1.9 percent.