Government to increase budget

  • 2000-11-30
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - After a series of amendments, the Estonian government offered to increase the proposed 2001 state budget by a maximum 300 million kroons ($16.41 million). The budget currently stands at 29.45 billion kroons.

The budget faced 317 amendments as of Nov. 22. According to the government, it's about normal and last year's number was even higher.

The Peoples' Union party submitted 195 amendments, and the rest came from individual deputies. The government suggested 10 corrections.

According to the amendments the government presented to the financial commission of the Parliament, the budget would increase by 300 million kroons, money to be spent mostly on enterprise dividends.

Under the amendments agriculture donations would be increased by 50 million kroons.

Other spending increases concern broadcasting, first-aid clinics and state funding of para-Olympic Games. Political parties would receive 14 million kroons more and Mustamae and Parnu hospitals would get 10 million more to cover renovation expenses.

Increases in the state reserve fund include 3.6 million kroons for the implementation of digital signature legislation.

Minister of Financial Affairs Siim Kallas said in September that the budget cannot be increased any more.

The budget's second reading is scheduled for Dec. 6 and will settle the amendments and Parliament hopes to approve the budget by Dec. 20.

Some minor political forces oppose the present budget. The Estonian Social Democratic and Labor Party said on Nov. 26 that Estonia should significantly cut expenses on defense, and European Union and NATO integration. The savings, they argue, should be redirected to health care.

"Until the people have decided on joining EU or NATO, it is not expedient to carry unreasonable expenses," said Tiit Toomsalu, the chairman of ESDLP.

The present institution responsible for health care insurance, the Central Health Insurance Fund, is not managing with its funding, according to the party.