Posted on February 9, 2010 by Brad Taylor
John Key’s speech to parliament today hardly signalled the commitment to reform he has been talking up. Summaries of the speech here and here, with commentary with which I largely agree here.
There’s unlikely to be much in the way of tax reform. With only the possibility of a 2.5% increase in GST, probably some minor tinkering with depreciation rules, and no indication of spending cuts, there could only be very minor reductions to income and corporate tax rates. The rejection of the introduction of new taxes, notably on land, is good, though for public choice rather than public finance reasons. There was some empty rhetoric about welfare reform, but major changes to the god-awful Working for Families were ruled out.
One thing really pissed me off though: the suggestion of unspecified reforms to liquor licensing rules to address the Problem of Binge Drinking. This means that beer is likely to get more expensive and less conveniently available so the government seems like they’re doing something. Not cool, John.
Filed under: economics, New Zealand, politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: alcohol, economics, healthism, John Key, land value tax, New Zealand, nz politics, public finance, regulation, tax | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 23, 2010 by Brad Taylor
Federated Farmers are unsurprisingly upset at the prospect of a land tax:
Federated Farmers’ Rangitikei-Manawatu president Gordon McKellar said a land-based tax would be “a pretty dumb idea”.
The projected profit for a typical 220 hectare Manawatu beef or sheep farm would be about $21,000 for the next financial year but a land tax on the same property could be as much as $24,000 if buildings were included.
If buildings were included, though, we’d be talking about a property tax rather than a land tax. The rationale is to tax something which we don’t need to worry about discouraging: you can’t make more land.
As I’ve said before, I would be very much in favour of replacing current taxes with land taxes, for both moral and economic reasons. Public choice concerns, as they often do, make things more complicated.
Filed under: economics, New Zealand, politics | Tagged: Georgism, land value tax, New Zealand, nz politics, public choice, public finance, tax | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 4, 2009 by Brad Taylor
From p. 396 of Andrew Sinclair, Prohibition: The Era of Excess:
Yet the strangest situation of all had been rendered legal by a decision of the Supreme Court. The Court had ruled that the Bureau of Internal Revenue had the right to request income-tax returns from bootleggers. The Court saw no reason “why the fact that a business is unlawful should exempt it from paying the tax that if lawful it would have to pay.” In the argument of the case, it was even suggested that bribes paid to government officials might be held deductible as business expenses. To this day , the bootleggers of the last dry state in the Union, Mississippi, pay federal income tax and a state tax on their illegal profits.
Filed under: economics, libertarian, paternalism, politics | Tagged: alcohol, economics, healthism, nz politics, paternalism, prohibition, public finance, tax | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2009 by Brad Taylor
I suggested a few weeks ago that a land value tax would be preferable to any other tax system in terms of both economic efficiency and fairness. So, I was pleased to see the New Zealand Government’s tax working group come out in favour of a land tax over a capital gains tax (hat tip: Blaise or Eric via Google Reader).
I would prefer a land tax as a complete replacement for income and consumption taxes, an option certainly not on the table; and I share Eric’s concern that adding another tax will increase the total tax take. Still, it’s nice to see an idea which is so obviously good from a standard welfare economics perspective being taken seriously.
Working paper from Andrew Coleman and Arthur Grimes here.
Filed under: economics | Tagged: economics, Georgism, land value tax, nz politics, public choice, public finance, public policy, taxation | Leave a comment »