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John Howard Talks Tax Cuts

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

03 December 2002

Speaking two weeks ahead of the summer recess, Prime Minister John Howard has hinted at the possibility of tax cuts as a result of higher than expected tax revenue so far this year, coupled with low unemployment.

Presenting its mid-year budget review last week, the Government revised its growth forecast down to 3%, but stuck to its surplus predictions of $2.1 billion. Speaking to the Australian media, Mr Howard suggested that it may be time to give something back to the taxpayer:

'When you have a low level of government debt and you have a surplus there comes a time when people might want some of the surplus returned by way of general or specific tax cuts. We are still a government that believes where you have a capacity to do so you should reduce taxes.'

He continued: 'Now I'm not making any promises in any particular areas, I'm just stating the principle that if you've got a bit left over...the assumption rather should be that we should find some capacity to give it back to the people who own it and that's the taxpayer.'

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Simon Crean was also talking tax, pledging to cut income taxes for low and middle income earners:

'I've already indicated that what we've got to look at is the bracket creep agenda and look at ensuring that there's more fairness in the distribution of taxation to low and middle income earners, they're the people that are hurting.'

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