A political agreement has been reached over funding Latvia’s State Culture Capital Foundation from excise tax revenue gained from cigarette and alcohol sales, as well as from the gambling tax, reported Latvian Radio’s Māra Rozenberga on December 11.
The funding for one of the country’s main culture bodies that awards grants and money for projects was tied to these taxes until 2004 when it was overhauled.
However this does not necessarily mean the foundation would get more money, with a Culture Ministry plan that would see its funds almost double by 2020 not finding favor at the Finance Ministry.
“We can offer changing the funding model without actually increasing the funding. It would grow naturally if the economy grows as well. We have to have options on the table to grant funding to other needs that will inevitably arise, in the culture industry as well,” said Finance Minister Dace Reizniece-Ozola.
She suggests that the funding model could be changed but the percentage – 3% from the excise tax from cigarettes and alcohol, and 10% from gambling tax income – would be lower.
The decision to change the way the foundation is funded was supported by a cabinet committee on December 11 and is yet to be adopted by the government.
The foundation’s budget for 2017 is €9.4m. That is much less than in Estonia and Lithuania.