Tuesday, 23 February 2010

COMMENTAIT: Please Sir, can I have some more?

COMMENTAIT by Geraldine Tait

Please Sir, can I have some more?

I'm just wondering if we're all being duped. Every few days there is a
new announcement more audacious than the last. Some of these are
coming from the government, some from various corporations and others
from our local council.

Take the proposal to increase goods and services tax (GST) to 15% and
at the same time reduce the income tax of those earning more than
$70,000 a year, is there something a little unbalanced about this
policy? Oh yes, we've been promised changes in the taxes for those on
lower incomes and an increase in benefits but I think these are about
as reliable as the Ks on an old 1987 Japanese import. Do any of us
really believe that these adjustments to our take home income will
match the extra expenditure which will result from the bumped up GST?

I think in a year or so we'll all realize we've been ripped off again,
but it will be too late to undo the damage by that time. Maybe John
Key and his sidekick Bill English are testing the waters, they are
waiting to see how gullible we are. This proposal will obviously keep
some of their wealthy mates happy but there must be lots of National
voters who aren't millionaires.

These changes are supposed to sort out a number of problems with our
financial health and well-being as a country but they run against the
advice of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and ignore a substantial
part of the Tax Working Party's report. Both suggested cooling our
love affair with investing in property by introducing tax on either
land or houses other than the primary residence, in other words
"rentals".

No one wants to pay more tax or have to deal with more bureaucracy but
some taxes are less fair than others. GST hits the poorest, hardest,
every day at the supermarket, the petrol pump and when buying
essentials like clothes, medicines and paying for services like
plumbers, dentists and power bills.

We should all be climbing up on our roofs and jumping up and down and
yelling really loudly, "NO INCREASE TO GST!" There is only a short
time before the budget is out so haste and maximum impact is
essential.

But do be careful while you are up there, the health system like a
number of other essential services is broke. Yes we still have
fantastic medical and support staff who work extremely hard but their
budgets are shrinking and the list of customers continues to grow.
Health Boards have got not surgical scissors, but chainsaws out,
viciously slashing back services, removing people off lists not by
treating them but cleverly redefining their ailments or the criteria
for assistance. Access to health care does have to have some
boundaries but it is the lack of transparency and open dialogue that
is most annoying.

Similar things are happening to ACC entitlements, funding for Teacher
Aids who support children with disabilities or learning difficulties
in the classroom. There have been lots of cutbacks to courses which
offer basic educational qualifications to both school-leavers and
those adults who want a second go at education. These people
desperately need a hand up to avoid a future on the dole or on the
minimum wage. Oh yes, that just increased by 25 cents an hour to
$12.75 or $10 a week for a person working 40 hours. How does that
compare to a 5% tax decrease for someone earning over $70,000 a year?

The Government is trimming back in every area because it is spending
more than it's taking in, not a good way to be. But at the same time
as we will see reductions in services, we're facing constant increases
in rates, power, phone, food and yes petrol prices are creeping back
up again. The DCC has bent over backwards to reduce its rate increase
this year (does that make sense?). But the projections for the
increases, in the next few years are huge so is this just a little
sweetener for election year?

All they have done is delayed a few projects which will actually add
to their cost in the long run. The issue of having far too many items
on the wish list has not been dealt with, in fact I see more items
have been added on, such as moving the Library to the Old Post Office
building in the Exchange, don't tell me that won't cost a few Zillion!
Meanwhile the new rugby thingy with the ridiculously long name (the
lunch box) that most of us still don't want, is soaking up more
ratepayer dollars for mysterious new expenses. At the other end of
town, pensioners in council flats face yet another rent rise, but why
should they be complaining? They'll soon have a new Bunnings
Wharehouse to go shopping in and the buses are still free (9-3) for
those over-65s who can actually climb up onto them.

--
--
Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public
domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

No comments: