Peter Costello is today focusing on 2012… or is it 2013?
However, Mr Howard and Mr Costello focused on the “aspirational” tax pledges both sides have made for beyond the 2010 election. Labor said that in six years, if affordable, it would reduce the tax rates to 15, 30 and 40 per cent. The 30 per cent rate would apply to incomes between $37,000 and $180,000.
Mr Costello released income thresholds that would apply to his five-year aspirational tax rates of 15 per cent, 30 per cent, 35 per cent and 40 per cent.
He used this to show middle-income earners would be worse off in six years under Labor.
Costello has played clever on this one. Last week’s Coalition tax policy included aspirational rates, but not thresholds.Â Then the ALP released aspirational rates and thresholds.Â Costello saw theÂ gap, andÂ quickly came out with a set of thresholdsÂ that set the second aspirational threshold at $41,000 rather than $37,000. This meantÂ thatÂ those earning $38,000-$100,000 were $100-600 per year better off underÂ the Coalition’sÂ aspirationalÂ schedule than under Labor’s aspirational schedule.
Of course, it didn’t matter what Labor did, what mattered was that the Coalition had cunningly omitted thresholds from its own aspirational goals. My guess is that if the ALP hadÂ set their aspirationalÂ second threshold at $41,000, Costello would simply have set his at $45,000.
So this is what the tax debate has come down to:Â a question of where the second income tax threshold will be in 2013. Does anyone really think that this level of detail is appropriate when we’re talking about a six-year goal, and a gap of $2-11 per week?