General government finances
General government finances include the central government, wellbeing services counties, municipalities and joint municipal authorities, the Provincial Government of Åland, statutory pension insurance companies and institutions, and other social security funds.
Central government finances consist of central government on-budget finances and central government off-budget funds. The State Pension Fund, however, is included in the social security funds. In the national accounts, the central government sector also includes the universities, the state-owned investment company Solidium and the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
The management of central government monetary affairs is a task of the Ministry of Finance. Annually, the Ministry of Finance prepares a proposal for the following year’s Budget. If significant changes take place in central government revenue and expenditure during the budget year, one or more supplementary budgets may be prepared.
The Ministry of Finance is also responsible for preparing the General Government Fiscal Plan and the included central government spending limits decision for the coming years. The General Government Fiscal Plan is the Government’s decision document that consists of decisions concerning the fiscal policy line, the entire general government and its subsectors. The spending limits set a ceiling on central government on-budget expenditure and also bring predictability to economic policy.
Wellbeing services counties are responsible for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services in Finland. Wellbeing services counties are governed by public law. They are self-governing and are distinct from municipalities and the central government. Wellbeing services counties finance their activities mainly with central government funding and they have no right to levy taxes. In addition, wellbeing services counties may charge client fees and other user fees.
Local government finances cover the finances of the municipalities and joint municipal authorities. The Constitution guarantees the municipalities a large degree of autonomy, principally the right to levy taxes and to decide on their own spending. The municipalities independently decide on the municipal income tax rate as well as the real-estate tax rate within a range determined by Parliament. Economic disparities between municipalities are equalised using the system of central government transfers to local government. In addition, the municipalities receive a proportion of corporate income tax, as decided by Parliament.
A significant part of citizens’ social security is financed from social security and earnings-related pension systems. Benefits are financed through earnings-related social security and social insurance contributions and general tax revenue. The central government guarantees a sufficient level of funding for the national pension, health insurance and self-employed persons’ pension systems. The level of social security contributions and the employer’s and insured person’s health insurance contribution is decided by law. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health confirms the level of contributions annually. The unemployment security and pension system has in-built cyclical buffers that moderate growth of insurance contributions should economic development deteriorate.
Senior Ministerial Adviser