budget verdict: Taxpayers welcome pre-election relief, but demand the full story

MEDIA RELEASE: Taxpayers welcome pre-election relief, but demand the full story

$2 billion climate fund ripoff will make zero difference to the environment, all at taxpayers' expense

$17 billion university funding with no guarantee of better outcomes or employable graduates

$2 billion Victorian fast rail project to deliver immense loss for taxpayers

Modest income tax relief for small and medium income earners, most of it scheduled for years into the future

Budget surpluses and paying down debt are welcome, but should come with cuts to overspending, not taking more money out of our pockets

Small businesses to receive welcome tax relief

2/04/2019

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, a 75,000+ member grassroots advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today commended the Morrison government for delivering a budget surplus and committing to increased tax relief, but urged caution against runaway pre-election spending set to be financed by hardworking taxpayers.

“Tax breaks for Australian small businesses, an extra $55 a year in the pockets of those earning less than $37,000, and up to $547 more a year for those earning between $37,000 and $126,000 through expanding planned tax offsets, are well-earned rewards for hardworking Australians.” Said Satya Marar, ATA Director of Policy. “But this isn’t the full story.

“The ratio of taxes paid to household incomes continues to climb. A failure to permanently index income tax brackets to inflation each year also means that millions of us are likely to pay more in the future with no increase in our real incomes. Much of the planned relief is scheduled for years into the future under unpredictable political conditions, premised on optimistic predictions about real wage growth and global economic growth which is already slowing down. Treasurer Frydenberg must bring tax relief for individuals and businesses even further forward to support his claim that the coalition are a low-taxing government.

“The government’s commitment to keep tax as a portion of GDP under 23.8 percent is also set to fail by 2020-21 under their own projections of tax revenue to be accrued. This figure is the highest ratio of tax to GDP since right before the Global Financial Crisis.

“Taxpayers also deserve better than the government’s practice of describing all new infrastructure spending, set to rise to $100 billion from $75 billion committed last year, as an equity investment regardless of profitability. The National Broadband Network keeps punishing taxpayers with losses, and the government’s $2 billion Victorian fast-rail project is set for similar results.

“Fast-rail rarely generates a return even in countries with greater regional population densities than Australia. These unprofitable spending programs should be described as they are- a taxpayer-funded sunk cost, rather than a feel-good ‘investment’ which will only deliver returns for politicians seeking re-election who aren’t spending their own money.

“Similarly, $17 billion for our universities should come with conditions ensuring that money goes where it’s needed. This is unlikely to be the case while university rankings and funding remains largely divorced from graduate employment outcomes and teaching quality.

“Furthermore, sinking $2 billion into the ironically-named ‘climate solutions fund’ when Dr. Alan Finkel admits that eliminating all of Australia’s 1.3 percent contribution to greenhouse gas emissions will not significantly impact climate change, amounts to throwing ice cubes into a volcano at taxpayers’ expense.

“Today’s budget has some good news for taxpayers. However, reeling in spending remains crucial. The government’s plan to pay down nearly $600 billion in debt, over $40,000 per household, through rising tax takings, lets down those of us who work hard and pay our taxes.”

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