has been marked out as the Budget battleground – so how about a $13 a
week tax cut for everyone? Fairer than what’s on the table? Rather than
just playing with rates, let alone giving higher income earners a tax
break first, the Democrats would like to use the money that’s available
for income tax cuts that tackle some of the structural issues in the
system. They have two amendments they want to put to the tax bills
introduced into Parliament yesterday.

The first and most
interesting opposes the tax cuts but raises the tax-free threshold to
$10,000 – giving all taxpayers a cut of $680 a year or roughly $13 a
week. Peter Costello talked on Tuesday about how his proposals offered
“very significant structural change for Australia’s income tax system.”
This would be more, treasurer, and better.

Then there are other
structural issues. “Exclusive tax cuts for high income earners should
be funded by cracking down on tax concessions and loopholes such as
taxing trusts as companies, excessively generous company car schemes,
income splitting, negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions,”
says Democrat tax spokesperson Andrew Murray. We won’t hold our breath
on those.