Tuesday's Papers: Gov't Denies Defense Tax
(Source: Finnish Broadcasting News; yle; issued Jan 10, 2017)
The Finnish government has denied a report in Monday's Helsingin Sanomat that it may be planning to avoid using the regular state budget to finance ship and fighter aircraft purchases for the defense forces by levying a special defense tax or launching bonds. Both Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo took to Twitter to deny the details of the article.

According to the daily Turun Sanomat, the Office of the Prime Minister told the Finnish News Agency STT that discussions at a meeting in December reported by Helsingin Sanomat did not include the tax or bond issue, nor does documentation from the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Finance contain any reference to such a plan.

Turun Sanomat reports that opposition Social Democratic Party chair Antti Rinne gave a statement to the press Monday saying that spending from the state budget on the defense acquisitions being planned would require cuts in education and public services. This, he said, his party cannot accept.

Finance Minister Orpo's staff expanded on the government response by saying that Finland cannot exclude defense spending from overall calculations of the national debt because it is taken into account independently by credit providers, credit rating agencies and the EU Commission.


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