Continue to campaign for a progressive tax system
At its weekend meeting the Central Committee of the CPA called for the continuation of the campaign for a progressive tax system and the repeal of the GST. The resolution said that "the GST has already started to bite into the living standards of low and middle income earners, pensioners and all who are wholly or partly dependent on social welfare payments. "Fares, insurance, rents, clothing, shoes, house repairs, cinema tickets, bank fees, in fact all services and many other essential household items are going up in price. As time goes on, the full scope of the GST will become apparent. "In addition, unscrupulous traders and service providers are, in many cases, using the opportunity to surreptitiously put up prices under the cover of the GST." A number of examples were given to the meeting. A private bus company in Sydney increased its $1.90 fare to $2.30, well above the 10 percent which the Prime Minister and Treasurer repeatedly declared would never be exceeded. The lie about petrol prices not going up as a result the GST has also been exposed. "It needs to be emphasised that the aim of the GST is to shift the tax burden increasingly to wage and salary earners and pensioners and away from high-income earners and companies. While we pay more, they pay less. This is the objective of Howard's tax reform. We now have an unfair and REGRESSIVE tax system. "We call on the whole labour movement and particularly the trade unions and progressive community organisations to campaign to implement a progressive tax system based on the principle of those on high incomes and companies earning huge profits, paying a larger proportion in taxes than those on lower incomes", said the resolution. But what sort of a taxation system would be a good alternative? The CC put forward some main points for an alternative PROGRESSIVE tax system that included: 1. The repeal of any form of a general goods and services tax; 2. A restructuring of the tax system so that tax rates for high income earners and big corporations are increased while the rates for wage and salary earners and others on low incomes are reduced; 3. Closure of corporate tax avoidance loopholes; 4. Payment of normal taxes on profits earned in Australia but sent overseas; 5. A cut-back of government handouts to the wealthy corporations in the form of direct grants and tax concessions; 6. The support and maintenance of publicly-owned enterprises and services; 7. A crackdown on family trusts which are used by high-income earners to avoid tax; 8. Raising the tax-free threshold to $13,000 — $250 per week. 9. A tax system that is simple to operate and transparent. "A PROGRESSIVE tax system must replace the GST and the outrageous tax breaks and subsidies paid to wealthy corporations." It is already clear from statements by ALP leader Kim Beazley that a Labor Government would do no more than knock off some of the worst rough edges of the GST while maintaining the system which imposes huge burdens on small business and is going to seriously lower the standard of living of most working people. The Party therefore said, "We must campaign to have the Labor Party repeal the GST and implement a PROGRESSIVE tax system when elected to government. "We call on members and supporters of the CPA to continue to collect signatures to the petition to Repeal the GST, to popularise our PROGRESSIVE tax system and to seek resolutions in support of a PROGRESSIVE tax system in their trade unions and other organisations", concluded the resolution. Petitions can be obtained from CPA, 65 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, 2010. Phone (02) 9212 6855. If you are being ripped off and overcharged by big business, phone the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) hotline — 1300 302 502 — and let The Guardian know. Even if it may appear to be only a small matter or an isolated instance make sure to lodge your complaint.