Thursday 27 January 2011

The country is broke, so let's tax the peasants

A Federal levy of .5% for every Australian taxpayer earning over $50,000, has been announced today. Those earning over $100,000, will pay 1%.

''I know this [levy for flood damage] will be unpopular,'' Anna Bligh said today. "Queenslanders didn't ask for their State to be wrecked by flooding,'' as she defended the new tax.

The tax will equate to around $1 a week for those on $60,000. Those on $100,000, will pay about $5 per week. Around $1.8 billion would be collected in in the 2011/12 tax year, however those who were flooded would not have to pay.

Prime Minister Gillard also agreed today to pay $2 billion immediately to Queensland to start the rebuilding, an acknowledgement that the State's coffers are depleted after 10 years of mis-management - and around $80 billion owed.

"As a nation we have come together in the past to help out the milk industry, the sugar industry, the workers of Ansett and to buy back guns after the Port Arthur tragedy," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said. "I think the people of Queensland are at least as important as all of those other levies in the past. Australia will benefit from getting Queensland's key industries like agriculture and mining back on their feet.''

''The prime minister had got the levy badly wrong,'' State Opposition Leader, LNP's John-Paul Langbroek said in response. ''It was unfair that people who had been indirectly affected should have to help foot the bill. The government should be able to fund the rebuild another way. We've got our whole tourism industry that's basically had a very, very difficult season. We've got truck drivers, we've got people who work in the cities who've been unable to access their offices. All of these people are now going to have to pay a levy.''

"I'm just concerned that adding a tax to Queenslanders is not going to help Queenslanders to regain their consumer confidence," John-Paul Langbroek said.

Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott says Labor should cut spending in other areas and also look at its own budget to pay for the flood damage.

''While it was important to help rebuild infrastructure in flood-ravaged areas in Queensland and Victoria there was no need for Australians to pay a levy,'' Abbott says. “There is fat in the budget, there is more fat upon which the government should draw.''

State Treasurer Andrew Fraser says he still doesn't know the total bill.

"When you see the numbers tomorrow you'll get a sense that this is, indeed, a very big impact on the Queensland budget so soon after the global financial crisis," Fraser said. ''Friday's new fiscal strategy would map a way to rebuild assets like schools, roads and bridges that had been destroyed. Into the future, we need to make sure that everyone understands the priority is on flood recovery first and foremost.''

Abbott drew the comparison of the new tax to the failed pink bats insulation scheme.

''This is another government spending program for which no one is going to be held accountable if things go wrong," Tony Abbott said today.

Labor will dump the dumb idea of the 'cash for clunkers' program, that was designed to trade in old cars for new; the green car innovation fund and the solar hot water rebate, in order to help pay for the flood bill. $325 million to undertake six Queensland roads projects, will also be put on hold, with cuts to projects across the country, adding up to $625 million.

Following September's massive 7.1 earthquake in New Zealand's third largest city, Christchurch, the nation's earthquake fund was immediately activated. There were literally billions of dollars in the fund, with no financial impact on the country's taxpayers.

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