The governing coalition seeks budget agreement.
As the final attempt to find 1998 budget compromise with the combinedopposition, the governing coalition met this morning to discuss its nationalbudget proposals. The governing coalition noted that the opposition hasstarted to accept the governing coalition's recommendation to find a wayto increase the wages of all educators, instead of wanting to allocate200 million crowns to raise the wages of municipal teachers only.
The opposition's decision not to fall into conflict with the terms ofthe IMF memorandum during the budget process is important to the governingcoalition. But the opposition was against reducing the total sum in itsproposal which, in the opinion of the government, will harm economic andsocial stability. Neither can the governing coalition agree to severalfunding proposals that the opposition made.
Unfortunately, at last night's meeting to find compromise, the oppositiondid not support reduction in allocations to the political parties and thesale of the State Chancellery building at No. 3 Rahukohtu Street. And theopposition did not support the government's proposals to increase the salaryallocation for the National Library and other state institutions.
Nevertheless, an understanding has been reached between the governingcoalition and the opposition on possible funding which will allow the governmentto continue the dialogue and to present its compromise proposals. In thatcontext, the allocation for educators' salaries will increase 20 %, andfor other workers in educational and cultural institutions (museums, libraries,academies), in emergency care and nursing homes up to 20%. Funds for thesalary increases will come, according to the government, from budget cutsin the ministries, state and parliament chancelleries, eurointegrationexpenses and allocations to the political parties. In addition, funds willbe realized from reductions in gasoline tax compensation, the warrantyfund, and the initiative development programs.
In extreme situations, the sale of state property, including the previouslymentioned building on Rahukohtu Street, will be used for funding. The governingcoalition supports the opposition's proposal to reduce Defense Ministry'sexpenditures.
The agreements reached at the evening meeting with the opposition willbe submitted to the finance committee of the Riigikogu (parliament) andthey will become part of Riigikogu's budget deliberations.