The initiative "Let´s bring money back from Latvia!" will see volunteers raising money near big alcohol stores in Valka and Ainaži in Latvia. The objective is to bring back at least some of the money that people are unfortunately spending across the border.
After the sharp increase in excise, many Estonians are purchasing alcohol in Latvia. Estonian alcohol producers estimate that the state budget will fall short by more than 100 million euros this year due to the excise. The Ministry of Finance is somewhat more optimistic, stating in its spring budget that there will only be 46 million euros in missing revenue.
“If we don’t collect taxes, the state can’t cover its expenditure,” said Gift of Life board member Toivo Tänavsuu. “These expenses include contributions to the social sphere, among them to the nation´s health. The foundation just can’t stand by and let this happen. Let´s roll up our sleeves and get some money back! The people of Estonia need it!".
The initiative "Let´s bring money back from Latvia!" is multifaceted in nature.
First, in July volunteers from the foundation will be raising funds at the SuperAlko stores in Ainaži and Valka on Fridays and Saturdays –the peak time for sales. The first day of fundraising was already 30 June, when the volunteers began work in Ainaži in the afternoon.
Secondly, the volunteers will also be contributing to improving public health by collecting some of the money that would otherwise have been used to buy alcohol. According to the latest research, alcohol consumption has slightly increased in Estonia, so our foundation will be helping to change that trend.
Thirdly, the foundation is inviting everyone who goes to Latvia to buy their alcohol to donate some of their savings in support of cancer patients. The organisers of the "Taxes to Latvia!" protest on 24 February are a good example: they raised 800 euros in support of cancer patients. Please note "Latvia" as the keyword when making a donation.
Fourthly, the foundation is calling on all officials at the Superministry, members of parliament and the government to contribute time and energy to the project by helping volunteers raise funds over the summer, when their workload is not as heavy. This week the foundation will be sending out a call to action to the Superministry and Toompea.
Finally, the owner of the SuperAlko stores, Aldar Eesti, is also supporting the initiative in Latvia by contributing additional funds from the profits of the Latvian business to aid cancer patients.
The cancer treatment foundation Gift of Life has funded the treatment of nearly 150 people in just half a year, raising more than 1.2 million euros.