This is what the National Budget means for you
The government’s proposal for the 2024 National Budget (also called the State Budget) affects Tekna members in several areas. Below you’ll find an overview of some of the most important points along with comments from Tekna.
Increased employer tax
The government increased the employer tax for incomes above NOK 750,000 as a temporary tax last year in order to balance the budget. The government’s now increasing the point at which this tax takes effect, raising it from NOK 750,000 to NOK 850,000. According to the government, this is part of an overall reduction of this particular tax.
Tekna says: This tax increase is actually a competency tax that makes it more expensive to employ highly educated specialists. The increase in the point of impact is modest, especially when considering that a lot of it has already been “eaten up” by this year’s wage settlement. Tekna will continue to fight for having this tax disappear altogether through budget negotiations with the Socialist Left Party (SV).
Student places in IT
The government is admitting 100 new students to IT study programs in higher education; no such increase has been made to any other technological study programs.
Tekna says: This is weak. We have a dire need for more IT experts in this country, and 100 more students admitted to IT can in no way be called an investment in education. The government has once again let a big chance slip by to invest in specialists who’ll develop the new technologies our society needs to transfer to renewable energy. Countless reports point to the competency crisis we’re already in; this crisis will keep growing dramatically bigger if there aren’t more people getting higher degrees in STEM subjects.
Student financial aid
The government’s increasing student financial aid by 3.8%. This is lower than the country’s current inflation rate, meaning that students’ purchasing power will decrease.
Tekna says: This is disappointing. A low level of student financial aid creates larger gaps among students who can get financial help from home and those who don’t have wealthy parents. Once again, students are the losers here.
The government is proposing NOK 148 million in further investment in offshore wind on the Norwegian continental shelf. There’s also a proposal to spend NOK 118 million on a comprehensive environmental study of areas that are being discussed as future sites for offshore wind expansion.
Tekna says: Offshore wind is a decisive factor in the government’s plan to reach its climate goals; so funding must be set aside to achieve this goal. Tekna is satisfied that the government’s setting aside funding for an environmental study. Tekna’s positive to a strategic impact report and field studies that increase our knowledge about the natural diversity and environment found in the areas being affected by future development (which are to be announced in 2025).
NOK 2.8 billion to Cyber Defense
The government’s proposing to strengthen the country’s Cyber Defense by NOK 2.8 billion in 2024. This is an increase from last year, when funding was just under NOK 2 billion. This funding will among other things be spent on updating the Norwegian Armed Forces’ IT programs and strategic cooperation with NATO, industry and allies in order to further develop technological opportunities.
Tekna says: Cyber Defense is increasingly becoming an important part of our country’s total preparedness, and Tekna has been calling for larger investments in this area for a long time.
Entrepreneur package NOK 220 million
The government is including an entrepreneur package in the National Budget of NOK 220 million.
Tekna says: Having access to risk capital is important when we’re trying to promote good ideas that can further develop current businesses as well as create new ones. This is especially important for finding solutions to the green and digital shifts, but also for reaching goals to double Norwegian exports by 2030. It’s now important to look at how this funding will come about. In addition to creating start-up businesses, Tekna thinks it’s important that these start-ups survive their commercialization phases, so laws are needed that help them reach this goal.
The government’s increasing the amount awarded to The Research Council’s funding for commercial research by NOK 100 million. Last year the same funding was cut by NOK 500 million.
Tekna says: Commercial research funding is popular with businesses and helps industry move toward necessary green and digital shifts. While NOK 100 million has been promised, the 2023 budget saw these same funds cut by NOK 500 million. A significantly higher amount is therefore needed if this type of research will actually be given this vital support.
The government introduced tuition this year for international students outside of the EU, which has led to a significant reduction in the number of students from these countries studying in Norway. The government has announced that it will consider various scholarships for these groups, and is now proposing a new scholarship for international students from developing countries.
Tekna says: It’s urgent to set up a scholarship that prioritizes studies and competency in areas for which businesses are crying out for more people, for instance technologists and engineers. It must be set up long before application deadlines for next year expire: we can’t afford to lose yet more graduates who have this vital competency. The reduction in the number of international students in Norway is dramatic, and Tekna is especially concerned about what this means for the competency crisis we’re already in with respect to the lack of STEM professionals. A significant number of the international students studying in Norway have taken these subjects.
Financing colleges and universities
The government’s making budget changes in its financing of colleges and universities, which means that this sector will no longer receive as much research funding as it has in the past.
Tekna says: The government’s changes will lead to having fewer academics conducting research. Tekna fears that research faculty will be dismissed. Lower research activity will also mean a lower number of researchers, poorer instructional quality and an overall weakening of basic research practices.