Strong support for mining tax and carbon pricing: survey

Per Capita Tax Survey finds strong support for mining tax and carbon pricing, deficit spending and reforms targeting high-income earners

By Ruza Zivkusic | September 19, 2011

Most Australians support a more progressive tax system and increased government spending on public services, a survey has found.

Per Capita Tax Survey 2011 has asked 1300 Australians for their views on personal tax contributions, overall taxation levels, public service spending and new proposals such as the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the carbon tax.

It has found that they prefer a more progressive tax system, with 95 percent of respondents believing that low income and middle-income earners are taxed too much, while only 16 percent believe that high-income earners pay too much tax.

"A majority of respondents support a mining super-profits tax, and supporters of an emissions trading scheme outnumber supporters of a carbon tax by two to one," the survey says.

"There is a distinct split between younger and older respondents, as younger people discount the future at a lower rate: they are more likely to support both the mining tax and carbon pricing."

The global financial crisis (GFC) has prompted extensive debate about how the government should respond to an economic downturn, with the survey showing that despite some criticism over the government’s fiscal spending measures, Australians support the use of a budget deficit to fund spending during a downturn.

They also prefer to see their tax simplified, rather than be adjusted to make it harder to avoid paying tax.

While most of respondents have a preference for increased spending on public services, 60 percent of them also think it is more important for the government to lower taxes for economic growth than to set taxes high enough to pay for essential services.

It also shows that the nation supports the use of budget deficits to stimulate the economy during periods of economic downturn.

"There has been much commentary criticising the use of debt to provide fiscal stimulus but it appears that the wider public does not share these concerns," the survey says.

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