Labour politicians in Oslo are staying mum, but newspaper Aftenposten reports that plans are afoot for it to introduce property tax as a new means of raising public revenues in the Norwegian capital. Communities in Norway can decide for themselves whether they want to impose property tax, and it’s always controversial.
Despite Norway’s reputation for having high taxes, much of the country has long lacked a tax that’s common in many other countries, not least the tax-phobic US. In the state of California, for example, homeowners pay stiff taxes on their property year after year, but in Norway property tax (eiendomsskatt) is relatively rare. It hasn’t existed in Oslo since 1998 and most cities don’t impose it.
Now the program committee for Labour, anxious to regain government power in Oslo, is polishing up its agenda for next year’s municipal elections campaign. Raymond Johansen, a former state secretary who currently serves as Labour’s national party secretary, has agreed to run as Labour’s candidate to be head of city government (byrådsleder) in Oslo, if the party finally wins over the conservative coalition that’s run Oslo for years. He wouldn’t discuss the property tax issue, but Aftenposten claimed it’s imminent.
Homeowners and commercial property owners, reported the paper, would likely be exempt from taxes on the first NOK 4 million (around USD 600,000) of the value of their property, and the tax itself is further restricted. Any attempt to impose property tax, though, will be vigorously opposed by the conservative Progress Party and likely by the current Conservative majority in Oslo.