Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked how his government’s planned tax cuts would affect Australians on high incomes. “We haven’t changed anything for those earning on the top tax rate,” was his response.
Trouble is, that’s not quite true. The government’s own budget papers show that people earning more than $200,000 will be getting an income tax cut of around $11,000 a year from 2024, when the Coalition’s full tax plan is in place. That adds up — a few weeks ago, The Australia Institute released modelling suggesting that over ten years, the government will spend $77 billion on tax cuts for Australians earning more than $180,000.
Scott Morrison and friends, however, seem determined to ignore that number. In fact, every time they get asked to explain it, they’ve been dodging the question. Here’s what’s going on.
What Has The Government Been Saying?
The government has repeatedly been asked to answer two pretty simple questions: firstly, is it providing a tax cut for Australians on incomes above $180,000, and secondly, how much is that tax cut costing taxpayers? Here’s how they’ve answered those questions so far.
On Sky News yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was asked directly: “what is the tax relief that you’re planning for income earners over $180,000 a year?”. He talked for several minutes without answering the question.
“You’re still not putting a figure on it,” the interviewer pointed out, to which Frydenberg responded “the only people who are putting a figure on it are The Australia Institute”, which he argued “is not an organisation that we take credibly” due to its left-wing views. He refused to say whether The Australia Institute is correct in saying that tax cuts for high income earners will cost $77 billion.
The closest Frydenberg got to giving us a number was this: “What it costs the budget is $95 billion dollars to reduce the rate of tax from 32.5 to 30 cents in the dollar, for those who are earning between $45,000 and $200,000”. In other words, the government is definitely spending $95 billion on a tax cut for a whole range of Australians, but they won’t say whether $77 billion worth of those tax cuts are going to the rich.
Later in the day, Scott Morrison similarly avoided the question, continuing to insist that “we haven’t changed anything for those earning on the top tax rate”. The closest we got to an honest answer from him was on 7.30 last night, where he was asked how much a person earning $200,000 a year will save under his tax plan. He admitted that the answer is “about $11,000″, but repeated that “the top rate of tax is unchanged”.
Courtesy of barrons.com