Posted 22 апреля 2021,, 11:33

Published 22 апреля 2021,, 11:33

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

The budget is not elasticr: new social support measures may lead to higher taxes

The budget is not elasticr: new social support measures may lead to higher taxes

22 апреля 2021, 11:33
The targeted measures of social support voiced by the president during his address to the Federal Assembly will eventually cost several trillion rubles. “Novye Izvestia” discussed with experts whether the budget would support such spending, and who would eventually pay for the “banquet”?

The policy of "helicopter money", in which the state distributes cash to everyone in a row, just to spend and maintain demand, in the United States has yielded a good result: in the second quarter of 2021, the largest economic growth is expected since 1984. Our officials at that time together declared that the distribution of "helicopter money" was senseless or impossible. According to Rosstat, GDP growth in the Russian Federation amounted to only 0.5% in March compared to March 2020, which in turn dropped by 3%.

But during the President's message, a solution was found to pour money into the economy, and not to retreat from past statements. It was decided to distribute money for a reason, but as part of the next stage of social support and the development of various infrastructure projects.

How much will the new social support cost to the budget?

Until the end of the year, the tourist cashback will be extended, 50% of the cost of vouchers to children's camps will be subsidized, children in single-parent families will be paid 5,600 rubles a month, pregnant women - 6,350 rubles, hospital care for a child up to 7 years old will be increased to 100% of earnings , all students will receive a lump sum payment of 10 thousand rubles. These social measures alone, according to Anton Siluanov, will pull 400 billion rubles in 2 years.

Moreover, the curators of educational groups in technical schools and colleges will be given a bonus of 5 thousand rubles, they will build 1,000 schools, renovate and equip pedagogical universities, renovate museums and houses of culture for 10 billion rubles, create a fund for cultural initiatives worth 3.5 billion rubles, open 45 thousand budget places in universities, will finance civil scientific research by 1.63 trillion until 2024 . Aluminum plants in Bratsk, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk will receive state guarantees for modernization. The regions will receive infrastructure loans for 500 billion at 3% per annum with a repayment period of 15 years. But the separately mentioned M12 Moscow-Yekaterinburg highway does not fit into these 500 billion in any way and will require separate funding. Now work is underway on a section from Moscow to Kazan with a length of 794 km for 650 billion rubles (820 million rubles for 1 km). And from Kazan to Yekaterinburg there are more than 900 km, which, taking into account the same prices, can cost almost 740 billion rubles.

And also the state debt of the regions, exceeding 20% of their annual revenues, will be replaced by almost free budget loans. And this measure should affect 69 regions of Russia. Moreover, 38 regions will have to spend a lot - their national debt exceeds 50% of annual revenues. In total, the regions, as of February 2021, owed 2.496 trillion rubles, which is 27.3% of their income. More than 650 billion rubles will be needed. And this is how almost 4 trillion rubles accumulate. Surely even Gazprom will start bargaining, seeking subsidies for free connection of households to gas. The amount is more than impressive for our federal budget, which provides for expenses in 2021 of 21.52 trillion rubles and revenues of 18.8 trillion rubles.

Will the budget cope with the new workload?

Where to get that kind of money? First, there is a National Welfare Fund in Russia. But spending by the NWF on the needs of the economy is a rare and unique phenomenon. Previously, the authorities were only engaged in hoarding for a rainy day, only replenishing the Fund, fearing to spend an extra penny, and in March 2021, they decided, after all, to start spending reserves, but not on the Russian economy, but on loans to friendly countries, which, judging by the available experience of debt forgiveness may not return.

Secondly, you can follow the path of the United States and increase the national debt. However, the attraction of funds strongly depends on the foreign policy situation. In March, foreign investors were selling off the state debt, and last week, after words about a possible meeting between Biden and Putin, the Ministry of Finance was able to sell securities worth 384 billion rubles.

But experts believe that there will be enough money to implement the announced measures, moreover, they emphasize that it was possible to "roam" and on a larger scale.

Economist, FBK partner and director of the Institute for Strategic Analysis Igor Nikolayev:

- As for infrastructure projects, the same Siluanov said that about 1 trillion rubles from the NWF can be used and spent this year - also a lot of money. As for all these point measures - for women who were registered in the early stages, who are in a difficult financial situation, so that they receive 5-6 thousand rubles, or those who raise one child... these are not the most capital-intensive measures, a lot money is not needed for this, it is not some trillions. Large spending was required if something was proposed for the same indexation of pensions to working pensioners. Which, by the way, many were expecting at least in a light version. And nothing was proposed on this score. This, in my opinion, is wrong.

Economist Mikhail Khazin is also confident that the state is able to inject money into the economy - at least due to the previously implemented savings, and that there could be more measures announced:

- Siluanov did not add a trillion to the country's economy last year, so we can assume that Vladimir Vladimirovich was modest, and that it was possible to give something to the people from this saved money.

If you look at the announced plans only from an accounting point of view, then debit and credit should converge. Our experts have no doubts about this. Nikita Krichevsky assures of the ability to find the required amount and saves - even if foreign investors suddenly decide to get rid of ruble assets:

- Well, foreign investors won't invest, that's fine. We have the Central Bank, which can easily, by analogy with the US Federal Reserve or the People's Bank of China, finance all our infrastructure projects that were announced today. And it will not cause inflation or anything like that.

Tax increases be

However, the pressure of sanctions should not be completely discounted. But not at all because of the problems of the state debt, which can always be saved at the expense of the Central Bank and additional emission of rubles, but because of the distorted attitude of the authorities to investments, says Igor Nikolayev:

- The influence of the sanctions pressure, in my opinion, is not that it is difficult to find money somewhere out there. Its influence is deeper and in fact not very good, it lies in the fact that we simply do not use money that could be used normally and effectively. That is, the pressure of sanctions is shaping our behavior “suddenly it’s not the worst thing yet”. We are constantly looking forward to this "black day". During the pandemic, the NWF even increased - it was 12.9 trillion rubles. on April 1, 2020, and now more than 13.5 trillion. As a result, we allocate money only for such targeted measures ... Will social problems be solved this way? They don't dare that way.

The money will be found, but the desire of the government's economic bloc to save money is still great. In such a situation, taxes can become an additional source of funds. The phrase about "adjusting taxes" sounded in the message evokes unpleasant memories. After Anton Siluanov spoke about the adjustment, the VAT was raised from 18% to 20%. Coincidentally or not, but recently the Ministry of Finance issued a press release, in which it told what little taxes people pay: in Russia, personal income tax is 13%, and in many developed countries - about 35%. Will taxes be raised this time? Nikita Krichevsky has no doubts about it.

- Of course we should expect this. But this will in no way concern ordinary people. It will affect primarily the oligarchs. Putin said about dividends: there are those who invest, and there are those who withdraw. Those who withdraw will be taxed at an increased rate. The population should not be afraid at all - not an increase in personal income tax, nothing like that will come close. Anyone who says that there will be, for example, an increase in income tax or some other types of taxes, he will be a provocateur. Especially when you consider that the real incomes of the population are at the level of 2009-2010, that food prices are growing, that the Duma elections are ahead...

Igor Nikolayev also adheres to the point of view that the "adjustment" can result in a one-sided increase in taxes:

- I think there will be some innovations in the taxation of profits. As you know, now the rate is 20%, all these issues have already been worked out in working order on how to reduce the rate for profit that goes to new investment projects to 18%, while increasing the base rate to 21%. But what actually happens is not clear. I am afraid that this can transform into the fact that the general rate will be raised, but as for some preferential rate, it will either not work very well, or it may not be reduced at all. This has already happened in our history. When there are proposals that compensate each other, for some reason only the one that works to increase the tax burden is left.

Petr Pushkarev, chief analyst at TeleTrade, also has his own opinion on increasing the tax burden.

- The increase in taxes for the bulk of non-resource enterprises in the current environment is excluded. But if the government and the president find that the amount of mineral extraction tax and personal income tax from raw materials companies is insufficient, then the tax nuts just for large exporters - oil workers, metallurgists, chemists - can be tightened, as First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov has already suggested to do this earlier. Taxes can be raised for money-swimming system-forming industries associated with the extraction and processing of national natural resources - and at the same time, the tax burden can be significantly reduced at the expense of the titans of domestic business - for almost all non-resource small, medium and large enterprises.

In general, the take-and-share approach seems inevitable. But will our oligarchs (that is, "socially responsible businessmen") want to part with their profits just like that? Is not a fact. Moreover, occupying a dominant position in the labor market, they have the opportunity to save money, for example, on increasing wages. The salaries of Vladimir Potanin's employees at Norilsk Nickel have been indexed within the inflation rate over the past 3 years, but the net profit is growing much faster. In 2017, net profit amounted to 127.4 billion rubles, and in 2020 - 300 billion rubles. And this is already taking into account a fine of 146.2 billion rubles for a diesel spill in the Arctic. Whatever one may say, but for the next jerk you will have to pay, albeit indirectly, out of your pocket.