The much-anticipated decision on the salmon tax by the Finance Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, originally scheduled for May 16, has once again been postponed.

The Norwegian government first announced plans for a new aquaculture tax on the salmon industry in September but details have been thin and slow to come, a problem compounded by the country's tortuous coalition politics.

In theory, the tax has been in place since the turn of the year, but the final rate has still never been agreed.

The government is currently made up by a minority coalition between the Labor Party (AP) and the Centre Party (SP). This coalition is being supported by the country's Socialist Left Party (SV), and together the grouping holds a slim majority in parliament, making SV support a potential deal breaker for the final version of the tax proposal.

. Norwegian parliament. Photo: Wikipedia

The Finance Committee now plans to present a minority proposal today, May 23, involving the revised government proposal from March when the ruling parties finally declared for a 35 percent tax rate, down from the original proposal of 40 percent.

This technical maneuver serves as another delay in the decision-making process.

If any adjustments proposed by SV gain traction in negotiations, they will be presented during the parliamentary session on Wednesday, May 31.

Previously, SV has expressed its support for a 48-percent windfall tax and introduced 14 environmental requirements, including a mandate for closed-containment systems for all new salmon facilities.

The ruling parties, however, have stood firm on the 35 percent tax rate.

"SV has been clear that we want stricter environmental requirements and a more redistributive model. However, beyond that, we have no further comment at this time," Socialist Left Party MP for Oslo Kari Elisabeth Kaski told IntraFish sister publication DN.

Kaski did not disclose whether the party would accept a tax rate of 35 percent if its other demands were met.

Last week, negotiations broke down among the Conservative Party (Høyre), the Liberal Party (Venstre), and the Christian Democratic Party (KrF).

The result was a widespread decrease in the share price of the country's salmon producing companies.

At that time, the Center Party and the Labor Party had floated a package that included a tax rate of 30 percent, with potential reductions on the wealth tax and extra deductions for current-year expenses included.

"We have made it clear that the industry can contribute more, but the structure of the tax is inadequate, and the overall tax burden is too high," said the Conservatives' Helge Orten when negotiations collapsed.

The Green Party (MDG) also withdrew from the negotiations, while the Progress Party (Frp) had already left.

Geir Pollestad of the Center Party, previously said that they would proceed with the government's proposal. He indicated that the door remained open for those willing to engage in a consensus. In theory, this means that the ruling parties could secure a majority without SV support.

IntraFish was unable to reach Pollestad for further comment on Tuesday, but he confirmed that the Finance Committee is now presenting the government's legislative proposal.

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