The Grattan Institute found that providing tax cuts in the never-never while reducing government expenditure from 24.9% of GDP in 2018-19 to 23.6% during the next decade will necessitate cutting existing programs by more than A$40 billion a year in 2029-30. That should have been the story of the week, but somehow it wasn’t.
That’s Scott Morrison saying the claim is “absolute complete rubbish”. I’ll come back to that. Worse was to come. By the end of the week Bill Shorten was accusing the Liberal Party of running a “low-rent, American-style fake news” campaign on a “ridiculous death tax scare”. Continue reading Election 2019: follies 1
1. Tax scare campaign
In its first major scare campaign of the 2019 election the Coalition is claiming that Labor will impose ‘$387 bn of new taxes on your income, your house, your savings’ over the next 10 years.
This is really quite simple. Continue reading Weekly salon 14/4: election edition
The Coalition government is calling Labor’s proposals to end cash payments by the taxation office for excess share dividend imputation credits a “retiree tax” and an attack on pensioners. In fact:
- No pensioners or part pensioners will be affected at all.
- Exemptions include individuals receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment, Newstart and Sickness Allowance.
- Self managed super funds (SMSFs) can have up to six members. Where one of a couple is receiving a part pension the exemption will apply to the fund.
- Martin also pointed out that it is possible to receive a part pension with an income of up to $78,000 pa.
- Currently under the existing rules it would be theoretically possible to receive a superannuation income of $80,000 pa, and then in addition receive a cash cheque from the taxation office of about $34,000.
- These benefits flow to one in every 25 Australians, the rest of us in effect pay for them.
- When cash payments were introduced in 2001 the rule change cost the budget $550 million. The current cost is about $5 billion, $8 billion next year. It is simply unsustainable. Peter Martin says the current scheme is as Australian as the echidna. No other country in the world does it.
Continue reading Dividend imputation reform vs a dishonest scare campaign
First up there are all kinds of figures going around. The big one – $9 billion dollars – is over 10 years. So the annual figure of less than a billion is a mere rounding error in a Commonwealth budget of around half a trillion. Nevertheless all dollars are accounted for, so Annastacia Palaszczuk is right to ask where the money is coming from. Continue reading The great GST fix
1. Taxing times
The Turnbull Government was mightily pleased when the Senate voted for tax cuts worth $144 billion over the next seven years. Here’s how they voted:
Continue reading Saturday salon 23/6
In his Budget Reply Address to the National Press Club Peter Hartcher in a piece Bowen seizes chance to make history reckons Labor’s plans amount to a trifecta:
- First, it has promised a tax cut almost twice as big as the government’s for lower and middle income earners, $928 a year against the government’s $530.
- Second, Labor has promised to spend more on its “inclusive growth” agenda centred around education, skills training and health care.*
- Third, it has promised to return the budget to a bigger surplus than the government’s planned $2.2 billion for 2019-20, and to press on to a surplus of at least one per cent of GDP.
Continue reading Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans
1. Macron – everyone’s friend
French President Emmanuel Macron came and went.
Andrew Tillett in the AFR reports that analysts do not think that Macron’s drive for an Australia-France-India “strategic axis” for the Indo-Pacific will amount to much in the long run. You can surge but it is harder to sustain. Realistically France is peripheral to what happens in the Pacific. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5
1. The inequality paradox
A New Scientist article by cognitive scientist Mark Sheskin of Yale University (pay-walled) says we should aspire to ‘fair inequality’ rather than ‘equality’ or ‘unfair inequality’, and most people would be happy with that.
He’s saying if you force people to choose between complete equality and high levels of inequality, most choose the latter. Given an open choice, however, people will choose moderate inequality. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/4
1. Peter Dutton did something useful
He banned Kent Heckenlively, the world’s ‘No 1 anti-vaxxer’, from visiting Australia for a lecture tour in December.
He said “it’s not in our national interest that he should come here.”
Free speech advocates may complain, but seriously, people can die from this madness. Continue reading Saturday salon 2/9
Exporters often seem to be able to pay less tax than other businesses. One of the key reasons for this is that exporters pay no GST on their exports despite benefiting from government expenditure on things things like education and various forms of assistance to industry including assistance that is specific to export industries.
This post asks whether it is about time to start charging the GST on at least some exports. Continue reading Should We Charge the GST on Exports?
The Commonwealth government has just gained support for a tax cut for business’s earning less that $50m per yr. The benefits of this change are debatable. The only things we can be sure of is that badly needed government revenue has been sacrificed and if anything, the administration of this tax will become more complex.
It might be smarter to get rid of this complex and difficult to administer tax altogether and replace the lost revenue by either increasing the take from already existing taxes and/or some new and simpler tax.
This post looks at the implications of getting rid of company tax. Continue reading Should We Get Rid of the Company Tax?
Ross Gittins says we have fake government rather than fake news, but it does appear that the political debate about company tax cuts has been inadequate and misleading, to say the least. In this post I take a look at what decent thinkers like Gittins, Craig Emerson, Ross Garnaut and others have had to say about the corporate tax cuts. Continue reading Fake news about company tax cuts