Friday, September 07, 2007

Shipping Out

Norway's socialist government finds itself trapped by the economics:

The very idea is distasteful to members of the Socialist Left Party (SV), led by Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen. The last thing SV wants to do is grant any tax relief to groups it views as among the wealthiest in Norwegian society.

Such groups, SV has long argued, should pay more taxes than others, not less.

But the shipowners long have lobbied, largely successfully, for low tax levels in order to match those of other countries. If they can't stay competitive, they'll re-flag the rest of their ships and simply sail away to more tax-friendly countries.

Good riddance, say some members of SV, but others may be forced to swallow tax breaks for the shipowners anyway. Intense negotiations are reportedly going on among the government coalition's three parties, with the Center Party and some aspects of Labour siding with the shipowners.

No doubt because the shipowners employ some of their constituents.

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