Concerns about insufficient funding arose with the recent announcement that state-owned foresty company "Latvijas Valsts Meži" (LVM) – previously a significant financial backer of the festival – is to cease its sponsorship and support in the sports and cultural sectors on the orders of new Agriculture Minister Didzis Šmits (United List).
In response to the question whether the missing money for the Song and Dance Festival will be found, Kariņš said: "The Song Festival will take place, and there will be funding for the Song and Dance Festival." Asked to elaborate, he simply repeated exactly the same phrase.
The parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Culture (KM) Ritvars Jansons (National Alliance) also said in an interview with Latvijas Radio that the suspension of LVM donations will not affect any of the major holiday events, but that payments are likely to be delayed by up to three months as funding will in future come from the state budget. The government has yet to pass a budget for 2023 and is unlikely to have one in place earlier than March.
The State Cultural Capital Fund has called on the government to return to the issue of "Latvian State Forests" donation policy, stating that without this donation, the cultural offer in the regions, the funding of choirs and folk dance groups will suffer.
On other topics, Kariņš told LTV that discussions about possible new deputy minister positions continued among coalition partners. He also said that, as far as he knew, not all the new ministers in government had received full security clearance. Kariņs repeated that national security, healthcare and education were priority areas in his program of so-called "economic transformation". No tax changes were currently planned and discussions on any reforms to the tax system were long-term and likely to take at least six months, he suggested.
"We don't plan any changes at the moment, and no sorts of changes will take place. We need to discuss and understand... We shouldn't change anything at the moment. That would be completely dishonest while it's still only January," Kariņš said.
Asked if the government might move to reduce labor taxes next year, Kariņš said that no-one likes to pay taxes but that they are necessary – but declined to rule anything in or out.
"There are always things that can be improved. Lower taxes would be very pleasant... the question is where, how and how much?" he said.