Diana Mousina, Senior Economist, Multi Asset Group, AMP Capital
Our overall expectation for this year’s budget is that it will look and feel like a pre-election year budget. What that means is it will have plenty of good news for the household hip pocket.
The government has more cash to splash this year because the economy has been performing better than expected.
The labour market has been a lot stronger, triggering an increase in household taxes and company tax revenue has also been rising quite steadily, ahead of government projections.
Jobs growth is running at 3.0 per cent over the past year and tax revenue to February was some $4.8 billion dollars higher than forecast in December.
This means the government has additional money to enable it to cut household taxes, which will boost sentiment before the Federal election next year.
The government has been signalling for some time that personal income tax cuts are on the cards for households crunched by rising accommodation costs and stagnant wage growth.
The stronger than expected economy means it can also continue with its promise to get the budget back to surplus by 2021.
The major winners from this year’s budget are probably going to be households in the lower to middle income range of the spectrum, because that is likely to be where the government is going to target the largest tax cuts.
Larger companies are also expected to benefit because the government is likely to continue with its focus to cut the corporate tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent over the next few years.
Keep in mind that the government has already announced that small businesses will receive a tax cut in last year’s budget, so small businesses have already been positively impacted over the past year.
The group that is likely to benefit the least from the upcoming budget is higher income tax households, because it’s unlikely that they will receive a direct income tax cut. However, this group will be positively impacted if the Medicare surcharge is postponed.
The Medicare surcharge, due to begin on the 1st of July this year, had been forecast to raise $8.2 billion over the forward estimates and this money was going to be used to fund the national disability insurance scheme.
The surcharge of 0.5 per cent would have been shared among all Australians earning more than $21,655.
However, the Labor party last year said it would only support a Medicare surcharge for workers in the top two tax brackets – people earning more than $87,000.
Now that the Medicare surcharge seems likely to be postponed again, we should expect some kind of announcement about how the NDIS will be funded going forward, most likely from the better than expected fiscal results. We also expect other healthcare announcements.
We think that other key parts of the budget are going to be around more infrastructure spending. It’s likely there will be an announcement about a Melbourne Airport rail link and some other spending around Queensland as well.
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