While the state budget strategy for 2022-2025, which austerity measures totaling cuts of €61 million in a year, may have passed government approval this week, the document is interim in nature and unlikely to form a solid basis for government activities going forward, senior ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam say.
“For these cuts to total €61 million in a year seems artificial and pointless in the extreme,” Anvar Samost said Sunday afternoon, appearing on regular head-to-head politics radio talk show “Samost ja Sildam”.
“The whole effort undertaken in order to demonstrate how swingeing the cuts are is a type of self-delusion, regardless of which side of things the government looks at. As former long-term prime minister and former Reform Party chair Andrus Ansip told ERR yesterday, this €60 million in cuts will not affect the bigger picture, and there is no point talking about a balanced budget,” he went on.
When the state budget strategy, known as the RES from its Estonian abbreviation (riigieelarve strateegia), was announced earlier this week, the cuts figure was put at €60 million, but this seems to have been revised upwards by one million since then.
“It’s difficult to assess the RES more precisely than that,” Samost added, noting that next year’s budget expenditures will come to €13.8 billion, and will not fall, and neither will the volume of government loans.
“These cuts are an example of virtual policy-making which has failed very badly. I don’t think either side of the coalition (made up of Reform and Center – ed.) is very happy about a four-day debate whereby the home loan interest rate tax exemption will be phased out, to save € 6.1 million a year or so, or this reduction in recreational activities [spending], saving € 7 million a year or the Ministry of the Interior ‘s cost – cutting plan,” Samost enumerated.
Read more: ERR.EE