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Opposition slams 'spendy' state budget

Opposition parties are criticising the government's plan to sell state assets to cover expenditure.

Petteri Orpo eduskunnassa
National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo. Image: Pekka Tynell/Yle

PM Antti Rinne's budget proposal drew broad criticism on Wednesday from the political opposition.

Next year’s budget projects Finland to be two billion euros in the red, even after the state sells off 1.37 billion euros in assets.

"The government seems to have left the tab running. Money is being spent in a lot of different directions while there’s no certainty of what's coming in. This will lead to the state becoming more indebted," conservative National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo told Yle.

Orpo also slammed the government’s employment-boosting measures such as wage subsidy programmes as having little impact.

Opposition Finns Party chair Jussi Halla-aho, while also critical of the state’s plans to sell off assets to shore up funds, praised the cabinet’s plans to target a 200-million-euro tax break on low- and middle-income earners.

Christian Democrat leader Sari Essayah meanwhile took to Twitter to criticise the budget plans for "eroding consumers' purchasing power."

"Stimulus budget"

"Overall, this was a stimulus budget that added more expenditures than it raised taxes. I would have saved the stimulus measures for when there’s a recession on the horizon," Ilkka Kaukoranta, chief economist with the blue-collar labour confederation SAK, told Yle’s morning television show on Wednesday.

He also welcomed the government’s commitment to attracting more work-based immigration.

“It was a smart decision to ease labour migration [into Finland]. The idea was to streamline the process and shorten waiting periods,” he added.

The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) said it was pleased with the 100 million euros in additional funding the government has earmarked for environmental protection.

FANC did, however, slam the government’s policies on peat energy, saying high-emission peat should be taxed in the same way as fossil fuels.

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