The West Australian, 16.2.17:
The Liberal Party today committed to $80 million worth of land and payroll tax cuts it said would put money in the pockets of 11,400 businesses and 20,000 property owners.
But Treasurer Mike Nahan declined to detail how the cuts would be paid for without borrowing more money, saying the Liberals would detail measures to reduce Government spending closer to the election date.
He also committed to no new or raised taxes during the forthcoming term.
Dr Nahan, Premier Colin Barnett and Small Business Minister Sean L’Estrange unveiled the package, which also included $4 million worth of small business technology grants, at a Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast.
Under the payroll tax changes, the threshold would be raised from $850,000 to $900,000 from January 1, 2018, saving businesses $55 million over three years and exempting 400 employers from paying it at all.
Mr Barnett described the tax relief as “modest” but hoped to offer more once Western Power was sold and WA got a better GST share.
The existing land tax exemption threshold would be raised from $300,001 to $360,000 from July 1, 2018, a saving of about $300 which Dr Nahan told journalists would go a long way for the self-funded retirees it was targeted at.
“It will require us, and we will make statements about this, (to lower) our cost of Government from where it is now to achieve a surplus over the forward estimates,” he said.
Dr Nahan said Liberals would not implement the far more generous payroll tax threshold of $5 million the Nationals have promised under an $880 million package funded by its proposed mining tax.
CCI WA welcomed the pledges, saying they would create 450 jobs in “mum and dad businesses” and save property owners up to $7 million.
But it came under fire from shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt, who accused it of staying silent during three steep increases to land tax under the Barnett Government.
He said the former Labor government had delivered five rounds of tax cuts, including to payroll tax, and had budgeted for two more before they were cancelled by the incoming Liberals.