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Dālderis: a long-standing taboo in Latvian politics has been broken

Ints Dālderis/flickr.com/Saeima.
«Latvia’s centenary budget is the first one in the history of independent Latvia that finally reflects the principle of tax progressiveness: the wealthy, who use more public resources, will help provide equal opportunities for all and develop the country by paying more taxes that the poor. This model is present in other countries and helps keep society happy,» says Kustības Par! board member and Saeima deputy Ints Dālderis.

He says that although this progressiveness is still symbolic and should be developed further, it is important to note that it marked the end for a lasting taboo in Latvia’s politics. «This is why me and my colleagues in the Saeima support this budget because we have been steadfast in support for progressiveness principle in spite of attempts from other people to oppose it. It should be developed further in the future – progressive rate should be applied not only to work wages but also income from capital. This tax principle does not affect many people at the moment, because they continue receiving income from dividends or property, which are applied with lower tax rates than teachers’ and doctors’ wages.»

Also Dālderis says that the centenary budget will also secure a considerable increase of funding for healthcare: and additional amount of EUR 200 million. «Larger funding for healthcare will help change the current costs in healthcare, in which the biggest portion consists of patient fees. This means older and sick people have to pay more than young and healthy people. This practice is not effective and only serves to deepen inequality in society. Of course, there are still many problems left to tackle in the healthcare policy. Nevertheless, any changes towards a better-managed healthcare are welcome.»

As for the proposal to change VAT for so-called Latvian vegetables, Dālderis says that Kustības Par! is against it. «This proposal is populist, economically unjustified and hurtful for the state budget. Only vegetable traders will gain something from this year’s EUR 6 million grant, whereas residents will not experience any major price changes. Six million euros is LTV’s entire advertisement budget. It would be better to invest this money in a good and comprehensive information campaign to educate Latvian residents about healthy lifestyle and eating habits, in which locally-grown vegetables and fruits play an important role.»

He says that even the finance and economy ministers opposed this populist idea. «Others simply lacked the confidence, because the way it is worded makes it very attractive.»

«This is why we propose changing VAT in a way that would benefit vegetable traders and invest six million euros in public media, which are the most important institutions that can protect our society in a state of information war, fake news, populism and abuse of democracy,» explains Dālderis.

The politician also says that the party opposes deputy quotas in all of their manifestations. He says the party sees risks of populism and corruption in them. «Finally, we support the 2018 budget because voting against it would mean undermining the government and creating instability.»


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