Because of unwillingness to act, the state plans to cancel the introduction of mandatory social fees and increase micro-enterprise tax from 9% to 15%, states political party For Latvia’s Development. In addition, because of the irresponsible behaviour and lack of proper organization of important tasks, the party expresses distrust to Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, asking her to step down.
On Wednesday, 7 December, the Coalition Council decided to postpone the introduction of state mandatory social fees. Instead, a radical, irresponsible and reckless decision was made to increase micro-enterprise tax rate from, 9% to 15%, the party states.
Performing rapid and radical last-minute changes demonstrates the government’s irresponsible attitude towards the country’s tax policy and thousands of taxpayers.
Juris Puce, head of For Latvia’s Development, comments: «The attitude towards thousands of taxpayers is clearly disdainful. The minister, who is paid stable and growing state salary, clearly does not understand that unjustified and baseless tax changes made at the last moment only serve to create an enormous degree of uncertainty among Latvian employers.»
The party’s head notes that the finance minister is responsible for the failure in the budget’s creation, dividing deputy quotas worth more than EUR 20 million and playing ‘chess’ during the process of the budget’s formation.
«It is yet another signal for Latvian residents that the government does not care. The finance minister should take political responsibility for the failure in her field of responsibility. Because of that, she should step down,» – said Puce.
As previously reported, independent deputy Artuss Kaimins has expressed his dissatisfaction and shock with the parliament’s approved budget. «I’ve never seen such a robbery as massive as the one that happened tonight,» – Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimins on Thursday, 24 November, after the night the Saeima approved the next year’s budget. According to him, while Latvia’s people were sleeping, the parliament was busy reviewing the new budget, wasting EUR 27 million of taxpayer money in the process.
«I don’t know a word more appropriate than robbery, because it was deputies’ vote-buying before elections. I don’t think taxpayers should buy for publication of a book or street repairs, roof change for churches and the digitization of museum archives. All of its falls in line with deputies’ quotas – EUR 20,000 for each of them,» – Kaimins told Rīta panorama, adding that ‘EUR 10-11 million of the EUR 27 million would end up in Lembergs’ municipality’.
«I asked [Prime Minister Maris] Kucinskis why we’d have to approve the budget at night within 20 hours as though Latvia was in a state of war. I was told that it is a tradition left from the Supreme Council – the communist era, it seems. As long as our country is ruled by former communists – Brigmanis, Lembergs, Reirs, Piebalgs and Ameriks, nothing will change, and people will continue leaving the country,» – Kaimins said.
According to him, the 2017 budget is the coalition’s, not the taxpayers’, budget. In it, the coalition has divided money among themselves to serve their own interests. Kaimins urges residents to pay close attention to and engage in political processes, otherwise «the State Treasury will be brutally robbed in the night. […] It is and aggressive budget built on the shoulders of the country’s taxpayers».
Delna Society for Openness emphasizes that ‘deputy quotas’ primarily serve the purpose of promoting political parties, not public interests. Deputy quotas allow parties to use state resources to bribe voters into supporting them in the upcoming summer elections. Use of state resources to sponsor people close to political parties does not comply with good management principles and priorities listed in the state policy planning documents. This kind of practice should not be taken for granted. It should be condemned and combated, Delna notes.
Especially generous amounts will be allocated to Ventspils, which is managed by the Union of Greens and Farmers. Ventspils will receive EUR 4 million in the 2017 state budget. The money will be allocated for the development of Ventspils Olympic Centre’s infrastructure, Ventspils international radio-astronomy centre’s development project and Ventspils Music School infrastructure development project.
Multi-million infrastructure projects are not considered acute problems the municipality is unable to solve on its own. In addition, Ventspils Music School has already received EUR 15 million funding from the emission allowances auctioning tender, Delna emphasized.