National’s economic package, including their proposed tax cuts, has been released. Overall it is fairly sensible stuff, a range of tax cuts across the board that is funded by tweaking Kiwisaver, and removing the tax credit for research and development – both policies can be criticised certainly, and I need to look more into the R&D issue before I can conclude this is ok, but remembering we are in tough economic times I think they are probably being reasonable.
But the policy also includes an “Independent Earner Rebate” for people not receiving Working For Families tax credits.
The package would cover those earning between $24,000 and $50,000 and would give workers $10 a week in the first year, eventually rising to $15 a week.
The whole point of Working For Families is to give extra help for families as opposed to single people. If you give similar tax rebates to single people as well, you destroy the entire point of having tax rebates in the first place. If they are going to treat everyone the same they may as well just ditch WFF and cut tax by an equivalent amount in a way that will benefit low-income earners. Far less paperwork, same result.
Furthermore, they are adding more bureaucracy and more central government expenditure around the tax system, when they claim to be trying to reduce bureaucracy. And instead of just working families being on a benefit, now pretty well everyone in the country would be on a benefit. This is actually more socialist than Labour’s policy.
This shows why we need a National-led government rather than a Labour-led one, because on the whole National should be better at managing the economy. But it also shows why we need National in coalition with minor parties, ideally The Family Party and Act, rather than ruling alone, to keep them on track and ensure they don’t have free reign to do whatever they like.
EDIT: They may be more cunning than I thought. If they canned WFF they may risk losing the election, but if they give an equivalent tax rebate to everyone they could get people used to this then propose in a few years canning both and introducing an equivalent tax cut, thus getting rid of WFF while retaining public support. Hmmm, in that case we really need The Family Party in there pushing for income splitting to ensure families aren’t forgotten about.