Keating, Michael: The future Budget outlook – a comment on the Parliamentary Budget Office report on trends affecting the sustainability of Commonwealth taxes

Michael Keating

The future Budget outlook – a comment on the Parliamentary Budget Office report on trends affecting the sustainability of Commonwealth taxes‘, Pearls and Irritations, 24 July 2018

The independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has released a report on trends affecting the sustainability of Commonwealth taxes. The key conclusion is that taxation receipts are likely to trend down in future relative to GDP, “given current policy settings and recent consumption and structural trends”.’ Keating, formerly secretary of the departments of Finance and Prime Minister and Cabinet, concludes that the report shows that, ‘on present policies, tax receipts are unlikely to rise sufficiently to achieve … necessary budget repair’. Meanwhile,

it seems more likely that the government will not want to take measures to increase revenue, nor radically change expenditure policies. Instead, this Government will do nothing and allow the budget deficit to drift out further. In other words, this Government will once again place its faith in a discredited ideology linking tax cuts and growth ahead of its responsibility to ensure that the budget does return to surplus.

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