Tuesday 19 October 2010

Tax Justice will be an election issue in 2011

Tax Justice media release
18 October 2010

“Tax all forms of income equally no matter how that income is earned” — that was the wording contained in a remit at the Labour Party conference over the weekend (see Quiet comeback for tax on wealth, NZ Herald, 18 Oct).

“Taxing all forms of income is something the Tax Justice campaign endorses,” says Vaughan Gunson, Tax Justice campaign coordinator.

“We want to see financial speculation taxed. It’s currently not,” says Gunson. “Rich individuals and corporates who speculate on price shifts in a range of New Zealand markets are not paying tax at the point where their profits are accumulated.”

Mr Gunson highlights the example of the Kiwi dollar, which is one of the most traded currencies in the world due to unrestrained speculation by global hedge funds and the like. But the speculators pay no tax on any profits they make to the New Zealand government.

“The introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax would allow the government to source much needed tax revenue from the world’s mega-rich,” says Gunson. “They’ll hardly miss it, but the extra tax received will make a difference to the lives of ordinary New Zealanders. For starters, we could offer relief at the supermarket by removing GST from food.”

“We expect the twin demands of the Tax Justice campaign – GST off food and a tax on financial speculation – to be big issues in election year,” says Gunson. “We’ve been getting a lot of support on the street from Labour supporters who agree with what we’re saying.”

The Tax Justice campaign is collecting signatures for a petition calling on GST to be removed from all food and financial speculation to be taxed. 20,000 New Zealanders have so far signed the petition.

For more information on the campaign go to www.nogstonfood.org

For comment, contact:

Vaughan Gunson
Tax Justice campaign coordinator
021-0415 082


Anonymous said...

"Taxing all forms of income" = taxing the poor.

Stuff that.

David said...

It also means taxing the rich, and as the press release explains, currently the kinds of income that aren’t taxed (big financial transactions and capital gains on property) are those most likely to going into the bank accounts and family trusts of the rich.

In any case, what’s wrong with taxing the poor, so long as the rich pay more?

Anonymous said...

Alliance policy is better. First 10,000 dollars free. Stuff the socialists

Don Franks said...

Bravo David,
At last a socialist is talking sense
able to empathise with both sides of the fence
Why not tax the poor
so long as the rich pay more?
Tax the rich as high as you can measure
they'll never want a loophole for their treasure
And then, to even up the social score
roll up your sleeves and tax the whining poor.

Apart from being seasonaly marched to war
what are the poor
useful for?
Many of them are not even working on a site
and those that are, how many of them get it right?
will grudging efforts of the uneducated and unfed
get the system back into the black out of the red?

Not to tax the poor would be patronising, and
if the poor are never taxed,
will they ever be uprising?

David said...

Not taxing the first 10,000 is a good policy. RAM, which UNITYblog supported at the last election advocated something similar, as does the Maori Party.

However, $10,000 a year is only $192 dollars a week (before tax). This is less than what most beneficiaries are paid, or even what you’d get for two day work a week on the minimum wage. So most of the working poor will still be paying tax on income over $10,000.

In other words, even this policy is a “taxing the poor”. It’s just taxing them less, and assuming the top tax rates are raised, taxing the rich more.

Your earlier objection was to “Taxing all forms of income”. But what you are talking about here is changing the rates of tax on wages and salaries, which in addition to GST is how most working people are taxed.

The call for financial transactions tax and capital gains tax is to tax the forms of income that are more or less exclusive to big business and wealth individuals, not workers, but which aren’t currently taxed. In other words, taxing the rich more, so the poor can be taxed less.

Incidentally, the Alliance is sponsoring the Tax Justice campaign along with Socialist Worker, and have long supported the call for a financial transactions tax. I’m pretty sure they would also support the CTU’s call for a capital gains tax and the general principle of “taxing all forms of income” so that the rich don’t get tax breaks like they do now.

David said...

Don I appreciate the time an effort you put into the verse above, but what’s your political point? Like “anonymous” you haven’t addressed my question “what’s wrong with taxing the poor?” Or perhaps I should rephrase that to make my point clearer: what’s wrong with poor people, along with middle income working people paying some tax?

I am poor, but I have no objection in principle to paying tax and contributing toward the social services I demand from the state. Of course I’d like more democratic control over what the state spend money on...

Don Franks said...

David, I burst into song when words fail me.
Sorry, I simply don't know how you begin to explain to a revolutionary socialist " what's wrong with taxing the poor"

I'm with the guy who said sometime in November 1848:

“From today, therefore, taxes are abolished! It is high treason to pay taxes. Refusal to pay taxes is the primary duty of the citizen!”

David said...

That piece you quote is stirring stuff from Marx and I agree, refusal to pay taxes was the primary duty of every revolutionary citizen of mid-nineteen century Prussia. Sadly for all the steam punk enthusiasts out there, this is not mid-nineteen century Prussia.

In calling for a tax boycott in Germany, Marx (writing in his newspaper published in London) was reporting and reacting to a resolution of the revolutionary National Assembly, which had been driven out of its official meeting place “by force of arms”. It declared:

“So long as the National Assembly is not at liberty to continue its sessions in Berlin, the Brandenburg cabinet has no right to dispose of government revenues and to collect taxes.”

In other words, this was a call for a temporary tax boycott until the establishment of a democratic, revolutionary (but not socialist or working class) government.

It’s worth noting, for those who like to quote Marx, that earlier in 1848, in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engles called for “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax”.

Of the two, I think it’s the second one that makes more sense for socialists to advocate in the here and now.

Aside from the fact that it’s more of less impossible for workers and consumers to refuse to pay PAYE and or GST, repeating Marx’s boycott call out context would play into the hands of the extreme free market types who declare “all tax is theft” and use this as an excuse to cut taxes and destroy public services.

Don Franks said...

David, all due respects,
That is not the point.
What I take from Marx is not what is or is not possible in terms of filling out a tax return in 2010.
Neither do I give two shits about what was quoted exactly what year when.
The relevant thing here is not about saving three cents on a fresh cucumber, its about revolutionary vision and spirit.
Fiddling around with inoffensive socially acceptable tax amendments is death to Marx's sort of vision and spirit.
Qualitative change and radical politics is not about being sensible. Its about breaking out of the suffocation.
My carefully considered advice from a standpoint of too many years is if you have a Ramones cd put it on as loud as your speakers will go while you then shred your tax justice policy and please don't post back saying Johnny was a Republican.
Because the revolution is about dialectics, and unthinkable shit and happenstance and brutality and blindly seizing the moment and what's totally absolutely impossible, but its not, ever, about being sensible.

Or taxing the poor.

David said...

Don, hopefully address your points regarding dialectics, revolutionary vision etc in a post I hope to have up in the next week or so. In the mean time, am currently copying Ramones CD to MP3 player.

But I won’t be ditching the tax justice campaign, which unlike an abstract call not to pay taxes is connecting with masses of people and organising some of them into a movement capable of winning real material and political gains for working class people.