Published December 7, 2016
Parliament reconvened yesterday, and with it arrived the budget for the 2017 fiscal year. Here are some highlights of the various ways and amounts the government wants to employ tax revenue:
Vísir reports that funding for The Tourist Site Protection Fund will increase by about half a billion ISK, giving the fund a grand total of 1.2 billion ISK in the coming year.
The National Church is also getting a rise, with an additional 113.4 million ISK going to the institution, for a total budget of over 2 billion ISK.
Iceland’s hospitals will have a budget of 59.3 billion ISK next year, increasing funding by about 4 billion ISK. Though this may sound like a lot, hospital budget officials have pointed out that the system actually needs an additional 12 billion ISK.
RÚV reports that about 1 billion ISK will go to asylum seeker matters. Specifically, this funding will be going to making deportations happen faster, and improving housing conditions for those still waiting for an answer. As asylum seekers are forbidden from working by law, their housing must be managed by the state until such time as they are either deported or granted asylum.
At the same time, parliament itself will get 4.2 billion ISK, with most of this going towards building new office space for parliamentarians.
In other budget-related news, Vísir reports that the prices of petrol, alcohol and tobacco will increase by 2.5% over inflation to help fill government coffers. In addition, RÚV reports that the government is now permitted to sell or rent out a number of public properties, including the police station at Hlemmur, the Reykjavík District Court at Lækjartorg, and the building currently housing the Directorate of Immigration.