'Taxes are what we pay for a civilised society' was the verdict of USA Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, carved into the walls of the Washington building that houses the tax collectors. The current tax debate has somewhat squibbed the major issue of what our total tax take should be, or just how much money we need in the public pot to maintain and extend the expenditure we need. Both the tax packages are now out and neither is an obvious winner. While the Coalition has included much needed reform in order to expand the tax base, they are actually cutting the total tax take by digging into the surplus to give tax cuts to the better off. Cutting into the surplus to fund their income tax cuts means that there will be no additional money to fund public services that have increased needs or to deal with a recession. WEL is aware that many of its constituencies are already affected by the cuts that allowed a surplus to develop and we are concerned that existing and emerging needs require more tax to be collected and kept, not less.
Labor on the other hand are being much more pessimistic in their growth forecasts and are not using the surplus to fund their income tax cuts. Their tax cuts are much fairer, being aimed at low to middle (well, almost middle) income families but they are however very tightly targeted and on joint incomes. So there is no help for women who are low but second income earners, whose partner pushed them over the relatively low limits. Labor has failed to broaden the base for collecting taxes sufficiently to allow for more spending when demand grows. WEL does not support a flat rated goods and services tax as it is regressive and a tax on jobs in high labour component services, but we are prepared to look at other base broadening options.
|1993-96 under Labor||0|
Replaced the Dependent Spouse rebate with a payment to the mothers. Reduced the tax loophole which allowed some women to deduct child care fees.
Failed to deliver unsustainable LAW cuts and offered them as superannuation bonus in the future.
|1996-98 under the Liberal/National Party Coalition||+1|
Introduced the Family Tax Initiative, which recognised the costs of children for the first time since the abolition of universal family allowances by Labor. Added on super surcharge, which added equity.
Set two levels of tax for children and offered the second level for under fives only to non or minimal income earning women, removed last vestiges of LAW cuts by pegging superannuation. Provided private health rebate.
|Election Promises by Labor||+2|
|Election Promises by Liberal/National Party Coalition||-3|
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Page created 20 September 1998; last updated 20 September 1998