Hands up who wants a tax cuts election?

Peter Wilson at NZ Newswire thinks that next year will be a tax cuts election.

Amid confusing statements from the government one thing is clear – National will campaign on tax cuts in next year’s election, says NZ Newswire’s political writer Peter Wilson.

The cuts will either have been announced in the 2017 budget, coming into effect in April 2018, or there will be a firm promise that they’ll be in the 2018 budget.

Those are safe predictions, unless there’s another international financial meltdown.

On Thursday last week, Finance Minister Bill English put them on the back burner.

Here’s what he said: “We don’t currently have an explicit provision for tax reduction in the fiscal forecasts.

“At this point, we’ve prioritised additional debt repayment over setting aside money in budget 2017 for tax cuts.

“However, we are still committed to cutting personal taxes over time, and will consider these – either in budget 2017 or after – as and when the fiscal situation improves.”

By saying they could be considered in budget 2017, he meant that by then he might be in a position to announce his future plans.

On Monday this week Prime Minister John Key said tax cuts could be in the 2017 budget, but he didn’t seem to think they would be.  

“Decisions haven’t been made and I can’t give you a start date,” he said at his post-cabinet press conference.

“But the obvious options are potentially in the 2017 budget, or campaign on it.

Both those options mean a tax-cutting election campaign.

Key is being a bit of a weasel with those promises wafting through the ether.

There will be condition, no doubt, but National is going to push Labour into a position where it is going to have to justify no tax cuts or tax increases against Nationals promises of tax cuts.

I agree with David Seymour on this issue however…we should be having tax cuts now.

ACT’s David Seymour has a totally different take on this – he wants tax cuts now.

“Even a $3b tax cut in 2018 would barely cancel out the $2.1b cost of bracket creep since the last round of tax reforms,” he said.

“A more credible approach would be to cut tax now with a promise to adjust tax brackets with inflation rates.”

Bracket creep occurs when incomes increase and tax thresholds stay the same.

Gradually, more and more people move into higher tax brackets.

Seymour has worked out that taxpayers are $2.1b worse off because of it, and calls bracket creep “raising taxes by stealth”.

Governments are notoriously reluctant to adjust thresholds because it has the same effect as a tax cut – and means less revenue.

It also helps control inflation, because people have less money to spend.

Bracket creep is evil and debilitating.

Either way it is shaping up to be a tax cuts election.


– NZ Newswire

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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