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Cuts in wealth tax divide the MDG leadership

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MDG’s party leadership is getting ready for this weekend’s national meeting. Deputy leader Lan Marie Berg (former), party leader Arild Hermstad and deputy leader Ingrid Liland. Photo: Beate Oma Dahle / NTB

Of NTB | 29.04.2024 17:34:08

Policy: It is expected that the tax debate will be one of the issues of contention when the party gathers for a national meeting in Fornebu this weekend.

The two deputy chairmen are on opposite sides of the question of whether it would be a good move to reduce wealth tax.

– Yes, Ingrid and I disagree there, acknowledges deputy chair Lan Marie Berg, and nods to Ingrid Liland.

Together with party leader Arild Hermstad, they presented on Monday the most important topics that the national meeting will decide on.

Liland believes this will contribute to a more redistributive and business-friendly structure in tax policy. It is necessary if business is to speed up the green shift, she argues.

– Not only to replace the oil industry, but to be able to deliver climate and nature solutions for many decades to come, she says.

The tax reform has a number of elements, and what the proposal will finally look like is not clear. But the aim is not to change the total tax burden, according to the party leadership. The intention is not to introduce increased taxes at the top while retaining the wealth tax.

The wealth tax should be retained because it ensures a broad distribution of the tax burden and prevents more zero-tax payers, she believes.

– It is the only way to tax some of the richest assets in Norway. And increasing corporation tax is worse for business, she adds.

Party leader Arild Hermstad initially supported the majority’s proposal, but says he will follow the debate at the weekend.

– It is important to have a whole that is credible. There is quite a lot we want to finance, so cutting taxes without having good replacements – I don’t want to go there, he says

The background is that the system is currently in favor of the home owners and one of the biggest drivers of social inequality, the proposal describes.

Hermstad admits that there is a dilemma as to whether tax deductions can contribute to rental prices increasing further.

– But the rental market is not a monopoly. It is not the landlords who can decide what they should have, you have to ensure that there is competition in the market, he says.

The reason is that it has taken so long to get started with the transformation that the MDGs do not see it as possible to reach the goal within ten years.

– I think 2040 is the most logical time because it gives us predictability and time to do it without it being too expensive. It is also compatible with Norway meeting its climate commitments, says Hermstad.

Four years ago, the party set the year 2035 as the target for winding down the petroleum industry.

“Unfortunately, the government has increased its investment in oil and gas in the past,” says the MDG leader.

It is due for debate as an end date when the national assembly convenes. It will be strange if the party is to advocate restructuring of the oil industry five years later than it did in 2021, writes the minority in its dissent.

– Now it is more urgent than ever to cut emissions in Norway as well. It is also important to stop oil production because it will lower supply and therefore demand globally, write Oda Sofie Pettersen and Thor Haakon Bakke from the central government, as well as Mari Henrikke Haga from MDG Agder.

* Give parents of young children “free pick-up” so that it will be easier to pick up children from the nursery. The right to go down to 90 percent of the position if you have children under six years of age.

* Trial project with a four-day week or six-hour day for public employees and for employees in kindergartens and nursing homes.

* Stop everyday crime against nature – among other things by uncovering illegal measures in the beach zone are uncovered and punished.

* Prohibition against clearcutting in all primary forest.

Proposals for tax reform are on the table. The wealth tax is reduced and replaced by reintroducing inheritance tax, putting in place a national property tax and increasing corporation tax.

Lan Marie Berg was among the minority who dissented when the proposal was considered in the national board.

Tax deductions for housing are also on the MDG list. Those who rent a home can also deduct expenses from their tax, reads the proposal. They are in favor of a deduction of up to NOK 15,000 a month, which could give tenants up to NOK 3,600 more to live with each month.

Strategy for phasing out oil and gas is another topic of discussion. A majority proposes postponing the phase-out from 2035 to 2040.

A total of eight resolutions with several sub-proposals are on the agenda this weekend. Among other things, it is proposed:

(© NTB)

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