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Regular version of the site

April Conference Features Discussion of Ways to Boost Budget Revenue

Budget policy remains one of the government’s key tools for improving quality of life and solving problems concerning poverty and inequality. But in order for the budget to grow, additional sources of revenue are needed. The first plenary session of the XIX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development featured a discussion of what these sources might look like.

Financing sources for economic growth can be found by redistributing current spending and directing it towards priority areas, says Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. (In an address to the Federal Assembly Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that growth rates be increased above world averages.) Currently 33% of GDP is distributed through the budget. Additional revenue sources can be found by proving the quality of how tax and customs payments are administrated, Siluanov adds. Tax revenues from increased efficiency within the Federal Tax Service and Federal Customs Service and from the introduction of digital services have alone increased by 1.5% of GDP over the last four years. ‘A fairer distribution of the tax burden will provide an additional 1% of GDP or so through economic revitalisation,’ he adds.

Additionally, the Finance Ministry is expecting increased investment activity and more participants in infrastructure projects. ‘Infrastructure mortgages’ should help with this – talks on this matter are concluding within the government – as should a project-financing factory that is part of Vnesheconombank (VEB). The government is also promising a fiscal neutrality principle for private businesses; that is, no tax innovations will hurt the existing tax burden, Siluanov says.

In the social sphere, Siluanov promised to move towards targeted forms of social assistance, which would increase support for those who truly need it, while remaining aid can be redistributed towards education and healthcare.

The Finance Ministry underestimates how ready citizens are for partially subsidized social services, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov notes. ‘The surveys we’ve conducted show that half of citizens would approve of a 2% increase in their tax burden as long as they themselves could choose how to spend it,’ he says. ‘It goes without saying that these are local and regional taxes. It is this potential that should be utilized,’ Kuzminov concludes.

Siluanov says he is unsure that self-taxation would take off. ‘We have other areas for attracting resources. I am skeptical of increasing the burden for our citizens.’ Self-taxation could be voluntary and directed towards things such as pension savings, Siluanov says, adding that people should be given the opportunity to use these funds during their careers.

Another issue concerns the regional budgets. During the 2014-2016 crisis, the Russian regions’ budget revenue declined considerably and has only started growing over the last year. At the same time the situation varies across the different federal subjects of Russia, and Siluanov promises to help the regions find sources of revenue. ‘Tax-related changes might lead to us redistributing resources in this way [without changing the relative percentages] so that the regions have enough funding to meet their obligations on the one hand and to grow on the other,’ he notes.

Unfunded mandates are a serious problem for the regions, HSE First Vice Rector Lev Jakobson believes. They arise when the federal centre transfers the obligation to finance spending to a different regional level without reinforcing additional financing sources. ‘The breadth of authority is unbearable for the majority of regions and municipalities. Let’s look the truth in the face and make them different for different territories,’ Jakobson concludes.

See also:

Russia’s Middle Class: Who Are Its Members and How Do They Spend Their Money?

The HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards studied the dynamics of the middle class and its behaviour with regard to paid services. The study was based on data drawn from the HSE Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) for the years 2000 to 2017, and the results were presented at the 20th April International Academic Conference hosted by HSE.

Reproductive Evolution: How Birth Rates Are Changing in Post-Soviet Countries

Reproductive behavior is modernizing at different rates in post-Soviet countries. Things are changing faster in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, where, over the last fifteen years, the average maternity age has increased and the contribution of women in their thirties to their countries’ birthrates has grown. Meanwhile, old reproductive patterns persist in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where firstborns are usually born to parents under 30, demographers Vladimir Kozlov and Konstantin Kazenin note in a paper delivered at HSE’s XX April International Academic Conference.

Live Long There and Prosper: How Internal Migration from Small Towns Works

More than half of school graduates in medium-sized Russian cities will change their place of residence either forever or at least for a long time. According a report on internal migration presented by HSE demographers at the XX April International Academic Conference, these people are lost to their cities.

What Drives Innovation in Russian Companies

As part of the Management session of the XX April International Conference, Carl F. Fey from Aalto University School of Business, Finland, presented his paper on Facilitating Innovation in Companies in Russia: The Role of Organizational Culture. In his talk, Professor Fey spoke about the results of three studies he has been conducting with his team.

‘In a Digital Environment, the Role of Human Teachers Only Becomes More Important’

How does digital technology affect the behavior and health of schoolchildren? What opportunities does it proved teachers and school administrators? These and other issues were discussed by participants in the plenary session ‘Children’s Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ at the XX April International Scientific Conference of HSE.

‘Statistics Should Be Available and Comprehensible to Everyone’

Implementing a digital analytical platform, opportunities for Big Data, and other prospects for the development of Russian statistics were discussed by participants at a plenary session of the XX April International Academic Conference.

Can Youth Bullying Ever Be Eradicated?

Dr. Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) presented a comprehensive account of her research into youth bullying spanning more than two decades in an invited paper ‘Prevention & Intervention of Youth Bullying and other Forms of Youth Aggression: Research Informed Strategies’ at the XX April International Academic Conference.

‘To Achieve Our Goals, We Need to Involve a Wide Range of Universities in National Projects’

The role of regional and industrial institutions of higher education in achieving national development goals must increase, and leading universities will help them. This was the conclusion reached by participants of the plenary session on Russian higher education that took place as part of the XX April International Academic Conference.

How to Boost Russian Food Exports

The plenary session ‘Strategy of Russian Presence at Global Food Markets’ took place as part of HSE University’s XX April International Academic Conference, where participants discussed the prospects for Russian agricultural exports to Asia, as well as the use of nonconventional investment models, such as Islamic financial tools.

‘The President is Focused on Increasing the Birth Rate and Reducing Poverty by Half’

National objectives for social development, as well as existing risks and opportunities in implementing these objectives were discussed by participants of HSE International April Conference.