It's that time of the year again when all focus is on the upcoming budget. It's earlier this year being on the 15th of October (perhaps the early bird catches the worm!). Apparently this year's budget is going to be the last harsh budget as we finally exit the IMF bailout program, however, that's little consolation as we have seen billions of cuts and tax hikes infringed on the Irish public in the last few years.
Can people really face any further cuts?
Instead of dreading this years budget wouldn't it be great if we could look forward to all the amazing incentives we were going to find out about. Imagine being at that 1998 budget when the rate of corporate tax of 12.5% was announced (down from 32%) - how exciting would that have been!
Here are a list of what I would like in a fantasy budget:
- Property tax - abolish it! But if not possible, at least stand by the commitment to keep 80% of the tax for use locally
- Income tax - reduction to rates or at least no increase on rates or bands, this will guarantee increased spending
- VAT rates on services - continue to lower VAT rate on service businesses
- Agri business/food - Go back to basics, look after our land and farmers and provide tax reliefs to enable production of agri food products in the most efficient way possible
- Waste - tax people who don't recycle or reduce waste efficiently and provided incentives to use public recylcing and waste centres
- Travel/Health - increase tax on motors based on the emissions released, provide tax relief to cyclists, walkers and runners, gym subscriptions etc.
- Home improvements - most people can't sell their house due to negative equity but how about tax credits for those looking to improve/extend, this will also benefit the construction and retail markets
- Household debt - provide tax credits on negative equity mortgage repayments
- Social welfare - although I don't believe basic social welfare payments should be cut, I think if they were provided by means of vouchers/smart cards instead of cash, spending would be restricted to Irish goods and services (not spent out of the country)
- Entrepreneurs - tax breaks and incentives for people setting up their own business and reduce self-employed levels of PRSI
- FDI/Investors - reduce the rate of capital gains tax to encourage investors particularly within the SME sector, reaffirm the status of the 12.5% corporate tax rate
Yes, I know some of these suggestions are unmeasurable and perhaps impossible/unrealistic but hey that's why it's called a fantasy budget and one that would suit my lifestyle!
What do you think? What would you add if you could create your own fantasy budget?