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National Coalition Party Launches Election Manifesto

The National Coalition Party reiterated its commitment to long and rewarding work careers, improved social services and job creating taxation reform in its 2011 election platform.

Image: YLE

Party chair and Finance Minister Jyrki Katianen formally launched the election manifesto on Saturday at a party convention in Helsinki.

The party claims to oppose the distribution of the tax burden equally among all sectors of society, and has proposed increasing taxation on consumption and environmentally harmful activities, rather than on workers and job creation. As such, the party is prepared to increase the Value Added Tax and in so doing, to bring an estimated one billion euros into state coffers.

The party warned that current levels of government revenues simply aren’t enough to maintain social programmes. The result is an income-expenditure there is a gap of tens of billions of euros, which must be reined in to avoid a debt spiral.

The National Coalition platform proposes cuts to business support programmes and defense spending, but wants to see more funding for social programmes such as primary education.

The centre-right party would like to avoid further taxation of work but supports lengthening working careers by ensuring that employees can stay in the workplace. Party chair Katainen said the question of worker taxation has been a thorny issue in government negotiations. And he added that the National Coalition would not be part of a government that followed such a path.

Another deal breaker for the National Coalition would be any policy that weaken the status of society’s most vulnerable. Additionally, the party wants to ensure that if the country experiences economic growth, any increase in income should be used to reduce debt, and should not be used for racking up more expenditure and debt.

Katainen and Soini at Odds on Taxation

The National Coalition approach to taxation policy appears to be at odds with the True Finns position income taxes. In their own election programme issued on Friday, the True Finns declared that they’re prepared to increase income taxes for the highest income earners, while maintaining current levels of income tax for middle- and low-income earners.

Katainen dismissed the True Finns proposal as incompetent.

Beyond the Welfare State?

The National Coalition Party has dubbed its election programme “Matkaopas Paremminvointivaltioon”.

The central question that the manifesto poses to the electorate is, “Why not stop acting like tourists and become residents of a welfare state, who actively and enthusiastically bear responsibility for ourselves, for each other and for our country’s future?”

The party says it is committed to the preservation of the welfare state but that the better welfare state could only be built by the people.