Conservatives and Liberals criticized Labor for emptying the pension fund. But the capitalists also had to resort to moneylenders when they ruled Oslo.
Arnhild Aass Kristiansen
Oslo City Council withdraws NOK 700 million from the so-called premium deviation fund. This is Oslo’s “oil fund”, which was created to cover future pension costs.
According to Finance Councilor Einar Wilhelmsen (MDG), the city council is choosing to do this to protect welfare services and climate initiatives in an extraordinary economic situation.
NOK 3 billion has been withdrawn from the fund, although it has met with strong criticism from the opposition.
– In a situation where everyone has to save the family budget or the company budget, the Labor city council is choosing to increase spending and set a new Oslo record for spending, committee chairman Erik Leigh Solberg said yesterday. .
Holstein Bjerke, group leader at Venstre, said the city council could not prioritize.
Oslo announces new tax hike. and pays taxes with the city’s pension fund.
I took the money myself
Now Andreas Halls, Ap’s group leader in Oslo, has hit back at the criticism.
He pointed out that under the current city council, too much funding has been built up. The fund, which was 873 million when the red-green city council took over, has increased to 2,863 million today.
– Needing money for a rainy day, we have built a fund among others. Now it’s a rainy day. It is time for one to use the funds. That’s why we’ve tried to build it, says Halls.
He also points out that the capitalists themselves used money from the fund when they ruled Oslo. In 2013, they withdrew NOK 180 million from the fund. In the same year, 120 million was deposited, thus reducing the total funds for that year by 60 million.
The Labor politician points out that the fund was so small at the time that there wasn’t much left. Also, he says it was withdrawn on that day without any unusual circumstances like today.
– The grace of courage
Høyre and Venstre have reduced contributions to the fund in both 2018, 2019 and 2020 in their alternative budgets. The Liberals cut deposits to 2022.
– They have the gift of bravery. Year after year, they propose to return the money in completely normal years, for completely normal activities. They present it as reprehensible to do it now, when there are huge financial challenges, says Halls.
– you’re actually taking money out of the fund instead of cutting the budget – wouldn’t it be fair to disagree?
– Yes, it would have been possible to cut public welfare services. This was my main message in the budget debates: to answer what conservatives and liberals really want to cut. We have chosen to save money in the long run. He says we will use the funds when we need them — and then start paying them back in two years.
Høyre’s Eirik Lae Solberg snorts at the review.
– The city council is responsible for the largest budget gaps in Norwegian municipal history. The people of Oslo realize this by doubling municipal taxes. Solberg says that when AP’s fiscal policy spokesperson criticizes the Conservative Party, it’s almost like listening to a pyromaniac lecture on fire safety. He admitted that funding was cut by NOK 60 million in 2013.
– Now Ap city council proposes to reduce it by NOK 700 million, almost 12 times.
– But you fail to deposit money in many of your alternate budgets. So can you criticize the store?
– In the budgets for 2018, 2019 and 2020, the Conservative Party proposed restructuring the pension system of Oslo Municipality. The reorganization will result in significant pension cost savings for Oslo Municipality, thereby reducing the need for provisions for premium variation funds. So, says Solberg, Oslo’s pension debt was able to be underfunded without increasing as much as it is now.
He says the Conservatives have been putting money into the fund for the past two years, and after the pension system was changed, they could not influence the decision on the city council.
The left-wing Holstein Bjerke also stands by his criticism.
– My criticism of the city council’s financial management does not specifically focus on the fact that they receive money from this particular fund. What I am criticizing is that over the years they have increased operating costs in Oslo municipality to an unreasonable level.
– Expenses are now so high that “savings” must be used to finance them. Instead, he says, they should work to make the municipality function more efficiently.
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