Andrew Bragg: A company tax will fuel growth, jobs

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Andrew Bragg: A company tax will fuel growth, jobs
MRC Director of Research & Policy Andrew Bragg.

Andrew Bragg writes in The Herald Sun:

AUSTRALIA’S Senate can stop us hurtling towards a poorer ­future as it votes on legislation to cut our company tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent by 2025.

There are three reasons the cut must go to all companies in full.

First, “big business” is a myth and all companies should get a tax cut as companies are owned by people. It is not a “give way to big banks and foreigners” as the Opposition Leader says.

In keeping with our egalitarian traditions, big business in Australia is owned by mums and dads.

For example, the Commonwealth Bank has more than 800,000 retail shareholders and almost every working Australian owns CBA shares through their super fund. Eighty per cent of CBA’s shares are held by Australians, of which the majority is mums and dads (54 per cent).

The $3.4 billion in dividends paid by CBA goes to super funds and the average super fund has 30 per cent of its assets invested in Aussie shares.

Business is also a massive taxpayer. Last year, Australian companies paid $65 billion in company tax alone: the second highest in the developed world after Norway. Companies pay more than their fair share — so much so that we are now losing opportunities offshore.

Second, cutting company tax has the power to create more and better jobs and better lives in a competitive world. The economics are clear: KPMG modelling shows cutting company tax to the Asian average of 22 per cent would cause investment to spike by 4 per cent with more jobs and higher wages. Company tax cuts help people since more investment delivers more jobs and higher wages.

Third, our history shows the way. For most of last century, Australia was a country with barriers to ­migration and offshore investment plus high taxes and high tariffs. These policies did not work. By the early 1980s, Australia was going broke.

When Bob Hawke and Paul Keating cut company tax from 49 to 33 per cent and cut tariffs, they ushered in almost 26 years of growth. If we are not competitive, we are dead.

 

Former PM Paul Keating in Question Time in 1992.
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

 

Australians are smart. An Ipsos poll this week showed 44 per cent of us back company tax cuts. This is ­despite an appalling campaign of lies and misinformation from GetUp! and the union movement, which wants to keep people poor.

Australia is not an island when it comes to investment and jobs.

Jobs will be created in the best business ­environment which is why Labor and the unions in the 1980s backed cutting taxes.

By supporting company tax cuts, the Senate can show Australia is open for business.

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