West Australians are sending a clear message to the McGowan Government ahead of this week’s state budget: No new taxes!
Recent polling commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) has revealed that only 22 per cent of West Australians would support the McGowan Government implementing new taxes to fix the state’s budget woes.
Less than a third (29%) of West Australians polled would support a hike in mining royalties.
CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham said $42 billion worth of debt is a lot to pay down but new or increased taxes is not the answer.
“This latest poll shows that nothing has changed since the March election: West Australians voted for budget repair with no new taxes, fees or charges, and that’s what they expect from this budget.”
This also means no increases to mining royalties which would lead to less jobs down the track.
Mr Newnham said increasing royalties is short sighted.
“It will provide a sugar hit to the budget but damage long term investment and job prospects,” Mr Newnham said.
“WA relies on business investment to create jobs – changing royalties would only make new projects more expensive and would deter investors. Any benefit to state finances would also largely be lost to other states through the GST distribution.
“To give the economy the best fighting chance of recovery, budget repair must come from spending growth restraint, not tax increases.”
In CCI’s pre-budget submission, we outlined key policies that, if implemented, will assist the Government to achieve a surplus by the end of the decade, as they promised during the election.
Mr Newnham said CCI and the business community have welcomed the McGowan Government’s strong policies to date to achieve savings by streamlining government departments, committing to a strict wages policy and taking steps toward reducing electricity subsidies, which cost WA taxpayers more than $300 million per year.
“We also welcome the Government’s announcement that they will transition the Royalties for Regions program to cover recurrent spending as was recommended in the CCI pre-budget submission,” Mr Newnham said.
“These are positive first steps but more must be done. Key areas where spending growth can be reined in include wages, health, and reviewing WA’s ‘go it alone’ NDIS policy.
“At a time when WA has the worst state finances in the country, and when most of WA’s royalties are distributed to other states through the GST, we need to be realistic about what we can afford.
“CCI looks forward to continuing to work closely with the McGowan Government on budget repair and economic recovery.”