The tax amendments package passed this Monday night was nothing nice. Pragmatically, it does secure the execution of policy agreed in government and the coalition can get its compromises enacted.
The faster alcohol and tobacco excise rise has mainly been resisted by producers. The accommodation establishments VAT rise – though not in its full force – has mainly angered hotel keepers. Fuel excise rise has been criticised rather broadly, as many are affected directly and all others indirectly. And no-one will overly rejoice over tougher taxation of other fuels.
So taxes are rising, let’s face it. As counterweight, one might crack a smile at the increase of tax-free income. Social tax dropping by one percent has mainly made us shrug, as few believe the employers will speedily channel the money saved into salaries.
Nevertheless, the weightiest law package of this government did pass, and the no-confidence towards Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas safely rejected – at that, the dividing lines passed precisely between coalition and opposition.
Thus, the government is obviously minded to cooperate. As a rule, all sorts of no confidences and obstructions at parliament tend to unite coalitions. And: though a motley crew, the opposition does oppose as one. From this, we now head towards the rest of the race this government has to run. A little less than four years.
So will this be the way it’s going to be: the ones at power running all over the rest by full use of parliamentary procedures, and the rest «against» with all its might? Both might be excused for being a bit upset.
In Estonian politics, linking no-confidence to passing of bills has been rather rare, though somewhat justified in the case at hand by what the tax package contained. Blatantly, a measure was applied to push the thing thru.
On the other hand, the all night sessions for years practiced by Centre have never been to obvious Estonian good. And pushing the Prime Minister around in the «no confidence – no, later» style isn’t the best of manners.