Norwegians support taxes

66 percent favor taxes for a better welfare system

Michael Sandelson & Lyndsey Smith
The Foreigner

35 percent of those asked said they would completely agree with an increase in taxes, while the remainder would agree in part.

The poll also found that 93 percent (74 percent totally in favor, 19 percent partially) believe it is important to preserve the current benefits arrangement. Moreover, 8 out of 10 felt that the key to reducing inequality in Norway was via tax policy.

Unio president Anders Folkestad’s opinion is that these findings seem to go against the government’s decision to cut taxes.

“We clearly see that the government’s tax cuts are not backed by any major demand by the people for these. The government is on a collision course with the people regarding important questions about tax and welfare,” he told Klassekampen.

Folkestad added that there should be willingness to discuss future tax rates. According to the paper, the past few years have seen politicians, especially non-socialist ones, focusing on public spending cuts and increasing the retirement age.

Both the Conservative (H) and Progress (FrP) Parties still believe tax cuts will benefit Norway. Svein Flåtten, finance policy spokesperson for the Conservative Party, thinks that securing increased welfare by cutting taxes is the way forward.

According to him, this will increase growth, “thereby providing an increased tax basis.” Flåtten raised doubts about the way Unio phrased their question, which was “are you willing to pay more taxes to ensure good public welfare services.”

“Implicit in the question lies [the fact] that one cannot ensure adequate welfare services at current tax levels,” said the MP.

Progress’s finance policy spokesperson Gjermund Hagesæter MP echoed his bipartite coalition colleague’s remarks. He commented to Klassekampen that there is nothing wrong with the government’s tax cuts policy, but Unio’s question. The MP commented to The Foreigner, Tuesday, Jan. 6, that, “these types of surveys often give the answer one desires.”

“I think a clear majority would have answered that they were in favor of cutting taxes if this would improve Norwegian businesses’ competitiveness and secure jobs would make sense. We’ve cut taxes in Norway because their levels are too high.”

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the Jan. 16, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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