Finnish election: Urpilainen wants higher taxes on wealthy

Finland’s finance minister and chair of the SDP political party Jutta Urpilainen has called for higher income and capital gains taxes on the country’s wealthy.

The call comes as the campaigning around the country’s upcoming presidential election heats up.

Urpilainen’s party colleague and SDP presidential candidate Paavo Lipponen has already suggested increasing taxes. Broadcaster YLE reported Urpilainen saying that the more affluent in society should carry a greater share of the burden of taxation.

Urpilainen also said that current economic difficulties in Europe are the result of debt-driven right-wing policies.

“I will challenge the other parties and presidential candidates and ask if they are ready to raise taxation on high income earners,” Vasabladet quoted Urpilainen.

However, irrespective of the outcome of the presidential election, the current government will remain in place, consisting of a six-party coalition, which may make further tax hikes more difficult to put into practice.

The coalition came about largely as a result of a desire to keep the True Finns eurosceptic party out of government. It is now the largest opposition party, having won more than 19% of the popular vote at the last parliamentary elections in April 2011.

Finland’s politicians are also mindful of the effects of any downgrade to the country’s top rated sovereign debt. S&P put the country’s long term AAA rating under review in December 2011 because of broader financial problems facing the region, and the impact that is having on Finland as a eurozone member.

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