Moderate party wants to cut taxes by SEK 22bn
The conservative Moderate party is proposing SEK 22 billion in tax cuts in its shadow Spring Budget. With that, all the opposition parties have presented their alternatives to the government's supplementary budget.
The conservative Moderates are the largest opposition party. They want to introduce tax cuts and to limit unemployment benefits.
"It should always be more profitable to work than not to work, so you have to demand that people go from benefits to employment, and to do that you need reforms on the labour market. Only then can you bridge the gap between those who have a job and those who haven't," said Anna Kinberg Batra, leader of the conservative Moderate party.
According to Swedish Radio's political commentator Tomas Ramberg, these proposals have the advantage of signaling a return to traditional Moderate party values.
"This way, the voters will recognise the party, which is having trouble in finding its way in politics and has had a pretty shaky time, with a dip in the opinion polls. There is nothing that more clearly can be attached to the Moderates than tax cuts, which is kind of safe to hold on to," said Ramberg.
When the conservative Moderate party was in government, they were part of the four party centre-right Alliance. And if the Moderates had had their way, these four parties would have presented a joint budget as well this time around. But that idea did not win favours with alliance partners in the Center and Liberal parties, who believe that the risk that the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party would use that as an opportunity to destabilise the country, by voting for the opposition's budget and plunging the country into political chaos, would be too high.
So all the Alliance parties have all tabled their own budgets, and they differ from each other. The Liberals are keen on giving more money for defence and to schools, and for that reason are not as interested in tax cuts at the moment. The Centre party wants to improve healthcare in all parts of the country, and they are also proposing lower taxes for small businesses, and have a radical means of funding that reform - by abolishing the National Employment Office. The Christian Democrats want to lower taxes for pensioners, by increasing VAT.
In other words, the four alliance parties have gone down the line of using their shadow budget proposals to stress each of their own special takes on politics, and have not used it as an opportunity to emphasize the Alliance as a government alternative.
And then, the second largest opposition party, the outsider Sweden Democrats, who this year want to profile themselves as "a healthcare party". In their shadow budget they allocate nearly SEK 8 billion more to healthcare, hoping to attract people to work in the healthcare sector, but they also want to stop several taxes that the government favours, such as a flight tax, a tax on road mileage, and a tax on small businesses. How they are going to pay for it is unclear, as the party has chosen not to specify, but party leader Jimmie Åkesson tells the news agency TT that the main cuts they want to make are in the money spent on integration.
So what do the opposition parties have in common then? Well, Swedish Radio's political analyst Tomas Ramberg said there is one thing that unites not just the opposition, but also the government: they all want to give more money to the police.