June 26, 2014. 32nd session of the Legislative Duma of the 5th convocation
The 32nd session of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast of the 5th convocation was broadcast online. The summary of the agenda items and the wordings of bills submitted for consideration by the deputies were published on the Duma website beforehand.
Duma Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya delivered her traditional address to the deputies. Among other things, she said,
“I regret to say that today we are again talking about tragic events in Ukraine. Even though President Poroshenko declared an armistice, blood is still being shed. The south east of the country is obviously experiencing a humanitarian crisis. More than 400,000 civilians have become refugees.
As you all know, the Governor ordered to create a work group to accommodate people coming from Ukraine. The region has already received more than 100 refugees, most of them are relatives of Tomsk Oblast citizens. Whereas, Kemerovo Oblast has received more than 2,000 refugees. More and more Russian regions are getting involved. Government at all levels will have to find ways to approach that – evaluate needs for resources and find jobs for all those people.”
Summary of the Speaker’s speech
INSURANCE MEDICINE SUMMARIZED 2013 RESULTS
The head of the Tomsk Oblast Territorial Compulsory Health Insurance Fund presented to the deputies the Fund’s performance in 2013 and submitted a bill on the Fund’s budget performance in 2013.
In 2013, the budget income of the Tomsk Oblast Territorial Compulsory Health Insurance Fund was 10.1bn rubles – a 23% growth vs 2012. Expenses totaled 10.2bn rubles – a 24.6% growth vs 2012. Spending on the territorial compulsory health insurance program grew by 4.2bn rubles compared to 2012.
In 2013, the territorial program ran without deficit for the first time. Under the Rural Doctor program (20m rubles) 40 doctors came to live and work in rural areas in 2013.
OBLAST BUDGET PERFORMANCE
The deputies reviewed a bill on the Oblast budget performance in 2013 and expressed concern over the rates expenditures grew over revenues. According to a report by Deputy Governor – Head of the Finance Department, in 2013, revenues to the Oblast budget were delivered at 89.5% vs plan (42.8bn rubles), i.e. the region received 5bn rubles less than it expected. Expenditures in 2013 totaled 48.9bn rubles (93% vs plan). Deficit at the end of 2013 was 6bn rubles.
Sources of tax revenues in 2013 were the corporate profit tax (34.1%), personal income tax (30.7%), corporate property tax (17.2%), excise duties (13.6%) and transport tax (1.2%). These sources accounted for 96.8% of all tax revenues and 70.2% of all budget revenues. Overall performance on tax receipts in 2013 was 31bn rubles (85.5% vs plan).
Key spending driver is again social and cultural expenditure (62.6%). Other drivers are national economy (15.6%), budget transfers to municipal entities (7.6%), public utilities (5.6%). In 2013, social sphere remained a priority. All social commitments were delivered.
The deputies passed the bill.
According to the Head of the Oblast Department of Finance, total revenues to the Oblast budget will grow by 575.3m rubles and expenditures by 791.1m rubles. The deficit will grow by 215.8m rubles.
Receipts from the federal budget totaled 597.3m rubles.
In 2014, the region’s revenues are projected at 49.7bn rubles, expenditures at 53.4bn rubles, deficit at 3.7bn rubles.
The national debt ceiling was raised and as of January 1, 2015 will total 45.2% of the revenues net of non-repayable receipts. Spending on investment and innovation activity in 2014 will total 5.9bn rubles, including 802.8m rubles provided from federal sources.
EVALUATION OF WORKING CONDITIONS
From January 1, 2014 the term ‘assessment of individual workplaces’ was replaced by ‘special evaluation of working conditions’ in the Labor Code of the Russian Federation. The definition and procedure of the special evaluation is regulated by the federal legislation. The Oblast law was updated accordingly.
All individual workplaces shall undergo special evaluation except for home workers, remote employees and people employed by an individual not registered as a sole proprietor.
TAX COLLECTION PERFORMANCE
The Tomsk Oblast Department of the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation presented a report on tax collection performance in 2013 and key objectives for 2014.
Only 29% of the collected taxes stays in Tomsk Oblast. The remaining portion is given away to the federal budget. Other regions in the Siberian Federal District have a better situation – they keep 60-70% of collected taxes.
NEW APPROACH TO ELECTIONS
The deputies backed a package of amendments to the Oblast laws on elections. Key change was lowering from 7 to 5% of the threshold for lists of candidates to proceed to the allocation of seats. Some new requirements to early voting procedures were introduced. Also, procedures for the registration of candidates and candidate lists for municipal elections and elections to the Oblast Duma were better defined.
Also, individuals who committed a minor offense and whose conviction was expunged or removed from official records ten or fifteen years ago (depending on the severity of the offense) are allowed to run for public offices.
The deputies raised the adoption allowance for a disabled child, a child above 7 years old, and children who are brothers and/or sisters. They also revised the method to calculate subsidies to local governments for the payment of the allowance. It is expected that the new method will help children.
The deputies also made amendments to the regional law On social support for orphans and children deprived of parental care in Tomsk Oblast. Orphaned children and children deprived of parental care will have a priority right for budget-financed vocational education as manual workers or public servants.
Amendments were made to the law On education in Tomsk Oblast. The amendments simplify procedures to apply for social support for students of secondary vocational education organizations, namely for compensation of educational travel expenses, and cancel the requirement for registration at place of residence.
SUPPORT FOR NPOs FOCUSING ON DRUG REHABILITATION
The Oblast deputies passed in two readings amendments to provide government support to nonprofit organizations (NPOs) involved in drug prevention and rehabilitation activities. The amendments allow NPOs focusing on prevention of drug misuse and drug rehabilitation and resocialization to apply for government grants.
According to the Ministry of Justice’s Office in Tomsk Oblast, there are 13 drug prevention and rehabilitation NPOs in the region. Two of them have voluntary certification. In 2013, 1,000 individuals took part in drug rehabilitation programs in Tomsk Oblast.
The deputies always emphasized the importance of drug abuse prevention. Some of the deputies’ proposals on drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation were reflected in the Oblast budget for 2013 and 2014. For example, funding of the Oblast program Tomsk Oblast public security for 2014-2018 was increased by 35m rubles to provide additional funds for the section of the program Drug abuse and crime prevention in Tomsk Oblast. At the same time, money to support dedicated NPOs can only be allocated from the federal budget. The deputies modified the existing regional legislation to reflect that.
APICULTURE IN TOMSK OBLAST
The deputies reviewed in the first reading the bill On apiculture in Tomsk Oblast. The law provides a legal framework for the keeping and breeding of bees by individuals and legal entities to promote apiculture in Tomsk Oblast. The bill clearly defines scopes of authority of the regional government agencies and areas of government support for beekeepers.
BACKING CHANGES TO CONSTITUTION
The Oblast deputies supported the Law of the Russian Federation amending the Russian Constitution On the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The amendments to the Constitution enhance representation in the Federation Council by ‘Representatives of the Russian Federation’ (no more than 10% of the number of Federation Council members from legislative and executive authorities of the Russian regions). The Representatives shall be appointed and dismissed by the President of the Russian Federation.
Pursuant to Article 136 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, amendments to the fundamental law shall take effect after they are approved by legislative government bodies in at least 70% of regions of Russia.