Tartu takes state to court over lack of funding for care reform
Tartu City Government Press Release
8 November / The Tartu City Government finds that the central government has failed to fulfil its constitutional obligations to provide the necessary funding for care reform.
The City of Tartu will face a shortfall of at least EUR 1.6 million next year due to the underfunding of the care reform by the state, and to keep the reform on track, this amount will have to be found at the expense of other city services. With the help of the Supreme Court, the city is seeking assurance that the state will fully support the implementation of the care reform in the future and will also cover the shortfall in funding for 2024.
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas said that the tasks imposed upon Tartu with the care reform are state obligations, the costs of which must be fully covered by the state budget. ‘As things stand, Tartu will have to find at least EUR 1.6 million in its budget for next year to cover the shortfall in state funding. In the opinion of the Tartu City Government, a situation where such a large amount of state support is already missing in the second year of the reform is unacceptable and unconstitutional,’ said Klaas.
In accordance with the law, the city must pay a share of the cost of care staff for each place in a care home. However, the state has not assumed a legally binding obligation to support the City of Tartu or other local governments with the necessary financial resources. At present, the state has made promises to cover the costs; however, there are no legislative acts providing for the full financing of the state’s obligations from the state budget. There have also been questions concerning the methodology and underlying data on which reform-related costs have been planned. It is reported that next year EUR 3,781,555 has been earmarked for Tartu from the state budget to cover the costs of the care reform. However, given the real costs needed to keep the reform alive, the public contribution should be at least EUR 5,400,000. This situation creates financial uncertainty for the city and forces it to meet public obligations from its own budget and at the expense of other services.
According to the city government, the care reform is a necessary change in the nature of universal care. The City of Tartu supports the objective of the reform and will continue to implement it regardless of the course and outcome of the court action.
In order to put an end to the unlawful situation, the Tartu City Government proposes to the City Council that a petition be submitted to the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the failure to adopt legislative acts that would provide for the full financing of the obligations imposed on local government units by the care reform from the state budget.
Last changed 08.11.2023