MYEFO: Scott Morrison argues case for company tax cuts, Labor attacks affordability

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  • December 21, 2016

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is using yesterday’s budget update to renew the Federal Government’s push to cut the company tax rate.

Key points:

  • Morrison uses MYEFO results to argue company tax should be lowered to 25 per cent
  • Treasurer says the cut is vital to future economic growth
  • Labor’s Chris Bowen says the cuts would not guarantee more business investment

The international ratings agencies decided to leave Australia’s AAA credit rating unchanged after the half-yearly update, although Standard & Poor’s put the Government on notice that it is still “pessimistic” about the Australian economy.

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Update (MYEFO) predicted a lower deficit for this financial year, compared to the deficit predicted in May, but then deeper deficits after that, before the budget is due to return to balance in 2020/21.

Mr Morrison used the figures to argue for the corporate tax rate to be cut to 25 per cent, saying more needs to be done to encourage businesses to invest and employ more Australians, stimulating economic growth.

“There are good things happening in our economy, but there are good things that have to keep happening,” the Treasurer told 7.30.

“One of the important things that we need to see in the economy going forward is increased investment.”

The peak business group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), urged Labor and some on the Senate crossbench to drop their opposition to the tax cut.

“They do need to happen, we can’t afford not to do it,” ACCI’s Jenny Lambert said.

“We are now 22nd in the competitiveness of the world economically, we need to improve our competitiveness and we need to make sure that company tax is one of those issues that all the political parties see the common sense with.”

$50b tax cut not affordable: Labor

Labor’s resolve to oppose the tax cut only strengthened after the release of yesterday’s budget update.

“It’s on a wing and a prayer that it somehow stimulates more business investment at a massive cost to the budget,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told 7.30.

“They lecture the Australian people about the need for restraint, they say we can’t afford more money for schools and investment in education, but they can afford a $50 billion tax cut.

“It simply can’t be afforded.

“Make no mistake, the rating is still very much in the danger zone as a result of the actions of this Government.”

Welfare lobby group the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) accused the Government of targeting Australia’s poorest and most vulnerable in its attempt to repair the budget.

As well as cutting a subsidy to the long-term unemployed, the mid-year update factors in savings from further cuts to welfare that have already been blocked by the Senate, known as the “zombie measures”.

ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie called on those opposing the measures to hold firm, saying the Senate had done the right thing to knock them back.

“We send a message to the Government to say you need to let this go,” Dr Goldie said.

“It’s a recipe for growing inequality in Australia, it’s a recipe for rising levels of child poverty, we have 3 million people in Australia already living below the poverty line.”

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