The salmon tax, which is investigated by the government, can be halted already during spring’s country meetings. In the government parties, the opposition is growing.
– It is not certain that this is the best way to create more growth in the municipalities that have aquaculture industry, says the Liberal Party’s commercial policy spokesman André N. Skjelstad to NTB.
Together with Trøndelag Venstre and several others, he has proposed that the party’s national meeting should say no to “an extraordinary special tax in the form of state resource rent tax in fisheries and aquaculture”.
Land rent tax is an additional tax that is imposed on industries that benefit from using community resources, such as fjords and sea areas.
Skjelstad believes it is important to “not tax the business sector to death”, but he is also concerned that the local communities along the coast should take part in the values. He points to the Aquaculture Fund as a good arrangement, which can be further developed. It fills up with money from the salmon permits the state sells.
Last year, the fund distributed NOK 2.7 billion to municipalities and county municipalities that facilitate the aquaculture industry.
Skjelstad also believes that taxes from the industry can be used for preventive measures against salmon lice, escapes and plastic littering of the sea.
– I think it is natural that the industry contributes more to this, he adds.
Majority majority for investigation
Last autumn, the government set down a committee to consider changes in the tax system for the fisheries and aquaculture industry. It will assess both land rent tax and production tax (fee per kilogram of fish produced) and present their findings on November 1.
The case came to the table after the SV submitted a proposal for a production fee. But the Labor Party and the four parties now sitting together in government asked instead for an investigation of a new tax system.
So it now appears that the government parties will not wait for the committee to submit its proposal before they take the discussion. To the High Court’s national assembly, a committee has submitted a shared recommendation. The majority do not want to introduce resource rent tax.
However, a minority in the committee believes that the Aquaculture Fund is no good substitute.
“It is a fairly short-term arrangement that shadows robust, local taxation for the benefit of the districts,” said Hanne Alstrup Velure, a central board member of the Conservative Party and Mayor of Lesja, to NTB earlier this month.
Money to Oslo or to the municipalities?
To the Progress Party’s national meeting, the county council in Trøndelag has submitted a proposal to say no to the resource rent tax. Such a tax will be negative for an industry that is extremely exposed to competition and means a “massive transfer of values from the coast to Oslo”, it says. The party would rather continue the Aquaculture Fund in its present form, in order to ensure the income of the host municipalities. Nordland Frp made a similar decision at its annual meeting.
Also in the Christian People’s Party, the case can become a national meeting theme, confirms business policy spokesman Steinar Reiten.
– I am interested in the discussion in the other government parties, he says to NTB. The rite feels it is particularly interesting that the Conservative Party is in the thinking box.
He himself has not landed on a stand, but emphasizes:
– It is a prerequisite that a substantial part of what comes in should go to the municipalities if we are to contribute to assessing a new tax regime.
He believes there is a change in attitude in the coastal municipalities after the auctions of salmon permits last year and the subsequent payments from the HFF.
– It gave a pretty profit, maybe more than many had imagined, he says.