Here are the highlights:
- Reduction in the “fishing fee” – the tax the fisheries moguls* must pay into the common coffers
- Reduction in the “accommodation tax” – a nominal fee that the previous government had placed on the booming tourism industry
- Reduction in the tax on electric power that heavy industry must pay [power that it already gets at a massively reduced rate]
- Reduction in subsidized heating for homes in areas that cannot utilize geothermal energy
- Abolition of subsidies for transport of goods to rural areas [making it even more difficult to live outside of Reykjavík]
- Reduction in funds for the purchase of needed medical equipment for the National University Hospital
- Implementation of inpatient fees – a charge for each night spent in hospital
- Cuts in allocations to universities
- Increase in the “registration fee” at the University of Iceland [effectively a tuition fee] by 25%
- Abolition of plans to lengthen maternity leave from nine months to twelve
- Cuts in allocations for the arts, including a cut of ISK 335 million to the Icelandic Film Centre [the film industry being one of the most up-and-coming industries in Iceland at this time *headdesk*]
- Substantial cuts in allocations for the Office of the Special Prosecutor [no surprise]
- … in addition to the usual suspects, such as higher fees on alcohol/tobacco etc.
On the upside:
- More funding for the police [ISK 500 million additionally]
- ISK 35 million additionally to combat organized crime
- Slight reduction in the “insurance fee” that businesses must pay, and which is effectively hidden income tax
So, yeah. Not exactly stellar.
The most contested among these is undoubtedly the new fee for inpatients – for the first time people must pay for each night they spend in hospital, a charge of ISK 1.200. Which may be not such a huge deal for people who are working and relatively healthy, but which can be disastrous for chronically ill patients, to say nothing of the mentally ill. In fact, it is such a f*cked up notion that one begins to suspect whether they just stuck it in there so they can later remove it and hold that up as an example of their gentleness and compassion for the ill and infirm.
No, really. You have to wonder.
* Needless to say, perhaps, these are the folks who back the coalition parties financially.
[pic borrowed here]