7 May 2018

Five ways the Treasurer could boost the budget bottom line

Treasurer Scott Morrison faces a difficult balancing act in the federal budget. He wants to cut income taxes, deliver new infrastructure spending and still reach a surplus by at least 2019. If he’s serious about maintaining the surplus, here are five ways the Treasurer could boost revenue to make the numbers work.

7 May 2018

Economics has a women problem. Here’s why you should care

Economic leadership positions in Australia remain an almost exclusively male affair. Indeed, the glass ceiling for economic roles has been proved more impenetrable than most. We’ve had a female Prime Minister but not Treasurer, a female CEO of a Big 4 bank but not a Chief Economist, and a female Chief Scientist but never a female at the helm of the Treasury, Productivity Commission, ASIC, APRA or the ACCC.

6 May 2018

Budget 2018 is about deciding between two very worthy objectives

There is one central question at the heart of tomorrow’s budget: will the Turnbull government give priority to tax cuts for today’s workers who are bearing the strain of low wages growth and a growing tax burden; or will the government finally start paying down the debt we will hand to future generations?

2 May 2018

Victorian budget: observations from outside the tent

The 2018 Victorian budget contains plenty of good news: notably more spending on skills, schools, hospitals and especially infrastructure. But the surplus is small and there’s little in the way of tax reform or savings measures. As Grattan’s Danielle Wood says in this post-budget presentation, the question remains: has the Andrews Government done enough for long-term budget sustainability?

15 April 2018

Instant expensing: an instant alternative to company tax cuts?

The government’s proposed company tax has languished between the House of Representatives and the Senate, unloved by those who see it as a gift to international capital at a time when budget repair should be a priority. Labor announced an alternative to the company tax cut in March, but you can be forgiven if you didn’t notice amid the furore about its proposed dividend imputation changes.

13 April 2018

Evaluating the case for cutting the company tax rate

The best evidence suggests a company tax cut in Australia would boost investment and incomes in the long term. But the size of the benefit should not be overstated, and there are alternatives that could provide an equivalent boost to investment at lower long-term budgetary cost.

22 March 2018

Pushing water uphill

Australia is highly urbanised, and becoming more so. Governments should not fight the ‘gravitational’ pull of the cities. But they can smooth the transition by ensuring that regional areas have access to good-quality services and that our cities are flexible enough to cope with growing numbers of people and activity.

22 March 2018

Grattan CEO responds to Judith Sloan

Commentator Judith Sloan criticised Grattan Institute in an article published in The Australian on March 21. Grattan CEO John Daley responded in a Letter to the Editor, published the next day. This is the unedited letter

21 March 2018

Hits and myths in the tax debate

The reporting of federal Labor’s dividend imputation policy and earlier policy debates around negative gearing shows how easy it is to mislead Australians about who loses from tax changes. The full range of tricks used by vested interests and political combatants to scare and confuse was on display. Here’s what you should look out for.

20 March 2018

The real story of Labor’s dividend imputation reforms

Labor’s plan to abolish refunds of unused imputation credits has ignited a political firestorm. But the claims and counter-claims about who will be affected by the policy have obscured, rather than illuminated, the real story.