The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

Address by Oksana Kozlovskaya at the 13th session
of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast (October 25, 2012)

Oksana Kozlovskaya
Oksana Kozlovskaya delivered a salutary address to the Governor, deputies, community leaders, and journalists attending the 13th Duma session.

Autumn is time for summarizing results and planning for the future. One can safely say that October was marked by past elections in 77 regions of Russia. For the first time over the last 8 years 5 governors were elected.

Tomsk Oblast had one of the most remarkable election campaigns of lately. At all local governance levels 1,165 individuals were elected. In three Oblast districts (Kargasoksy, Asinovsky, Verkhneketsky) new heads of municipal entity had landslide victories. Six political parties took part in the elections. Four gained seats in local parliaments:

  • United Russia secured 78% of mandates
  • The Communist Party gained 2.3% of mandates
  • The Liberal Democratic Party won around 2% of mandates
  • Just Russia ended up with less than 1% of mandates
  • And for the first time ever 17% of the mandates were taken by self-nominated independent candidates!

At the beginning of October the World Bank published a report where it was mentioned that in 2012 Russia featured two types of economy: a growing and a slowing one. The former was taking place in the first half of the year and the latter featuring rising inflation, weakening domestic demand and sluggish external demand, continued towards the end of the year.

Russian citizens are also in low profile and pessimistic moods. Romir Research Holding conducted a public opinion poll which reveled that the majority of Russians are expecting the next wave of the global financial crisis. Low harvest, growing grain and gasoline prices are among the key drivers behind growing inflation.

Therefore, we have to develop the draft budget for 2013-2015 taking into account a new budgeting rule. From now on, the federal budget expenditures will be budgeted on the basis of average oil barrel pricing over past years rather than using current and forecasted oil prices. If actual oil prices turn out to be higher, the incremental revenues will accumulate in the reserve fund.

“Keeping that in mind we are proceeding to discussing the draft Oblast budget and developing a financial action plan for the forthcoming three years,” the Speaker said.

At the 13th session the deputies will also consider the updated Socioeconomic Development Strategy of Tomsk Oblast. The development thrust has not changed and the priorities have remained the same. The most important thing is that the strategy has kept its focus on the individual, their well-being and high living standards! The document was updated to include references to new strategic development documents for Siberia and Russia and meet the requirements of Presidential Decrees published in May.
Forecasted indicators were corrected to reflect modern development trends of the Russian and global economies.

Second, serious changes await the Tax Code. They are mostly aimed to eliminate obstacles for investments. From January 1, 2013 small businesses and sole proprietorships will be able to choose a taxation system which they find the most convenient. A patent-based taxation system is being introduced for almost fifty types of entrepreneurial activity. Today, Tomsk Oblast is considering a relevant bill.

Third, support for agricultural producers has become one of the budgeting priorities to meet the requirements of the WTO’s “green and yellow basket” initiatives. The government support will focus on the following.

– Priority development programs for regional rural areas and their infrastructures
– Less direct support for producers and zero profit tax for an indefinite period of time
– Compensation of 35% of expenses on agricultural machinery and equipment

The 2013 budget includes 1.3 billion rubles for the development of rural areas. It is important to define priorities for Tomsk Oblast now to continue the work locally and at the federal level.

At this session the deputies will also discuss social spending, interbudgetary transfers and development issues.

“An increase in social commitments has resulted in serious structural changes in the Oblast budget spending. Over the recent years, the average development budget was 10-15% (and we were able to rival favorably with many other regions!) but in 2013 investments and innovations will see only 6% of total spending. Most regions of Russia have realized the significance of this problem to one extent or another. We should collectively be looking for a way out. Because the task is clear: NOT SLOWING BUT ACCELERATING DEVELOPMENT RATES.”

Apart from the key items on the agenda – the Socioeconomic Development Strategy and draft budget – the deputies will consider more than 40 issues.

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