SDE sends proposals re coalition agreement to partners

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Photo: Sander Ilvest

The board of the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) on Tuesday evening formally sent to its coalition partners Reform Party and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) proposals for making changes to the coalition agreement.

The key proposals contained in the package include a proposal to raise tax-exempt income to 400 euros a month and set out in the coalition agreement strengthening of the county level of local government, ensuring the financial autonomy of municipalities and division of services as the fundamental principles of administrative and state reform. Besides municipalities should be ensured a sound income base and a new financing model for them should be established as part of the administrative and state reform.

In addition SDE wants to raise the ceiling of tax-free turnver for self-employed persons to 25,000 euros, provide foreigners who graduate from a higher education institution in Estonia with an Estonian residence and work permit and modernize the system of public procurements to give regional and/or small and medium size enterprises better access to public sector orders.

According to SDE, an income base should be ensured for all municipalities at least on the pre-crisis level, municipalities should be provided greater rights to impose local taxes, while important regional functions should be brought to the county level with the aim of creating a two-tier system of local government.

To motivate local governments to engage in the promotion of business, the possibility should be given consideration to that the number of new jobs created in the municipality will be taken into account as an additional component in deciding about the budget equalization fund. Besides, the rights and duties of village elders should be set out in law.

The SDE proposals include relocating at least one agency of the central government to each county and creating the possibility of remote work for 3,000 workers of the central government.

It is also important to ensure the availability of electricity and high-speed internet at a reasonable price to all households in rural areas, along with decent roads, and money should be earmarked for expanding the activities of the Rural Development Fund.

The SDE proposals concerning political parties include setting a ceiling on campaign expenditures, switching to open national lists in the Riigikogu elections and cutting the maximum length of the lists of candidates in local polls.

SDE members want MPs appointed to the supervisory boards of state owned business to receive no extra pay for performing their duties there and want the price of cars bought or leased for the performance of the functions of the state to be capped at a level that would prevent the state's car fleet being "expensive beyond common sense."

As a measure to tackle the ongoing increase in the average age of teachers, SDE is proposing to raise the pay of teachers to 120 percent of he national average wage.