Editorial: the need to demist money wagon windows

Raha. PHOTO: Arvet Mägi / Virumaa Teataja

How will the (growth part) of state budget be split, next year? Are we really debating, publicly, things really vital and worthy of debate? As it is, PR advisors of coalition and opposition alike seem to be directing discussions towards tempting yet nonessential or self-evident ruts. And, sadly, journalists have taken the bait.

As revealed by simple math, basic exemption may not be raised to the degree that it would be felt in the daily realities of Estonian families. Should public wages rise in step with state income increase – who would debate that, really, be they on the left or right of the political landscape?

The government having assured us, through lips of prime and finance ministers alike, that wage rise will be selective and directed towards those currently on low salaries, this should please the ears of both culture workers and entrepreneurs. The latter fearing, as do all honest taxpayers, that  a general uniform wage rise would rob them of accountants and business managers, being basically unjustified and destructive to Estonia’s competitiveness. Reform Party and IRL, however, have vowed: public sector has no desire to act as free market wages engine. So – who are we debating? 

Herewith, Postimees claims that this year’s public debate on budget options has gone awry. What’s more: to this day, it is almost nonexistent. Why indeed debate things which are obviously possible, which answer everybody’s expectations, and will surely come to pass. Or: why try explaining how badly certain things are needed, though desired by all, but still up there in the fairy-tale-territory for the time being?

We ask: what are the real major political budget choices, for next year? What will be increasing, in Estonia? What will become of less importance? Regrettably, we are still waiting for a clear cut answer from the government. And an alternative offer by opposition. After yesterday’s cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister was able to announce the maximum average public sector wage fund growth. And to warn that state agencies ought not to plan spending sprees.

True, a large part of the budget growth has already been «spent» by prior decisions; even so, there are options for both government and parliament. These options ought to be the subject of public discussions, not to be muddied by overly general or specific issues. What, indeed, would be more of a policy matter that how we spend our common input?

Estonia’s main trade partners are doing... bad, recession also having landed on our shores, recently. The more so there is a need to be honest with ourselves. And bold enough to voice a reliable plan: this is where we are headed. On the misty seas of this uncertain world, why blow extra smoke?