You read that correctly: The Norwegian Labour Party offered an example of one of those “Only in Norway” sorts of moments, when it vowed over the weekend to launch into this fall’s municipal election campaign in Oslo with a proposal to impose a new property tax.
Labour’s candidate as head of Oslo’s city government, Raymond Johansen, confirmed to newspaper VG that his party would move forward with its proposal to raise more revenue by introducing property tax.
Politicians in many other countries usually campaign on promises to cut taxes, not raise them or introduce new taxes. In Norway, however, taxes are not viewed as entirely negative but rather as a means of contributing towards fellowship and shared fortunes.
Plenty of Norwegians try to cut their taxes, but Labour’s plan to push through property tax isn’t the kiss of death it would be in, for example, California, famed for its revolt against property taxes a few decades ago.
Johansen claims the city can raise around NOK 3 billion in new funding that can be used especially to build more day care centers for children and improve care for the elderly, both of which are the responsibility of local government. Elder care in Oslo has come under fire in recent years, because of a shortage of nursing home capacity and examples of negligence in home care for the elderly.
Johansen also claims that the rapid growth of Oslo’s population, which symbolically passed 650,000 on Monday, has left the city with a pressing need to improve social services.
Mayor Fabian Stang, who will be campaigning to retain his position as the Conservative Party’s candidate, has earlier promised that no property tax will be introduced in Oslo as long as he’s mayor.