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FSD2624 Finnish Local Government Barometer 2010: Members of Municipal Councils

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Authors

  • Foundation for Municipal Development

Keywords

Finnish political parties, government policy, local finance, local government, local government services

Abstract

The survey charted the attitudes of members of municipal councils towards local government finance and municipal service provision in Finland. Views on the characteristics and policies of Finnish political parties were also studied.

First, views were probed on the sufficiency of municipal service provision in different issues, for instance, care for the elderly, health services, public transport, sports facilities, library and cultural services, primary and lower secondary schools. The respondents were presented with a list of services and asked which could be cut down if municipalities had to reduce costs. The services mentioned included, for instance, educational institutions, child day care, care for the elderly, social assistance, health care, sports facilities, public transport. They were also presented with a list of social problems, such as rising prices, prostitution, racism, crime, income disparity, high taxation, and asked which were the three problems the future parliament and government should focus on.

Next, the respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with a number of attitudinal statements relating to the financing of services, cutting down services, democracy, economic and social disparity, minimum income guarantee, public political influence, raising the municipal tax rate etc. Some questions focused on what methods the respondents would find acceptable to ensure the financing and services of municipalities. The methods mentioned included, for instance, raising the municipal tax rate, increasing borrowing, cutting/delaying investments, decreasing the quality of municipal services, lowering wages. Finally, opinions on the characteristics and policies of different political parties were charted.

Background variables included the number of inhabitants in the municipality, the respondent's gender and political allegiance, and the regional council in the area of which the municipality was located.

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