ALP tax snub hits in heartland

Published by: The Daily Telegraph

Businesses in Blacktown, Parramatta and southwest Sydney will be among the hardest hit by state Labor's plan to abandon much needed payroll tax cuts in NSW.

Michael Daley's bid to save money in the state's budget will see 38,000 businesses across NSW miss out on savings of up to $8175 each.

For the first time today, the spread of pain can be revealed with government modelling showing that 1500 businesses in Paramatta, 600 in Blacktown and 1000 in Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury will be burnt by the change, as well as thousands in the CBD.

Outside Sydney, 600 business in the Illawarra, 1900 in the Hunter, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie will be hit.

Payroll tax financially punishes businesses for employing workers. Mr Daley has said he will not go ahead with changes to lift the payroll tax threshold - easing the burden on employers - from $850,000 to $900,000 in 2019-20, to $950,000 in 2020-21 and $1 million in 2021-22.

Upset by Labor's policy the NSW Business Chamber will target marginal seats on the issue in the election campaign.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the changes were expected to reduce the tax burden for businesses by $758 million over the next three years.

Almost 40,000 businesses across the state will save up to $5450 in 2018-19 after the payroll tax threshold was raised from $750,000 to $850,000 in the last state budget. That saving is due to increase to over $8000 in coming years.

In addition to this, a further 3000 businesses which were meant to stop having to pay tax completely under the increased threshold will have to continue to pay under Labor. By 2021, that number should have climbed to 5000.

"Labor's refusal to follow through with payroll tax cuts would punish your typical family-run small businesses, reduce job and wage growth and ultimately mean less opportunity for workers," Mr Perrottet said.

"This is a rank policy completely on the nose - it stinks for small business owners who are the heart and soul of the state and whom employ tens of thousands of people." Mr Perrottet said he did not personally believe in the ideology of payroll tax which was a "hurdle" for business, but will not completely cut the revenue stream for the government.

"I don't like payroll tax, a tax levied on businesses based on the wages they pay to the people they employ. It some ways it's a tax on growth and in a perfect world we wouldn't need it, " he said.

Announcing his intention to stop the tax cuts last year, Mr Daley said he believed they were "irresponsible". His focus was on better investment in schools and hospitals.

"In a low wage environment where there is great structural weaknesses in the budget, this government is having trouble funding recurrent services," Mr Daley said.

Liverpool green grocer Sam Zeynoun said there were countless ways he could improve business if his payroll taxes were relieved.

"Of course I am ready for a break," Mr Zeynoun said.

"There are lots of things that need to be done but I can't afford it. I could employ more people or fix up the shop.

"Our floors need fixing and our roller door takes an hour to open and close.

"It's already so hard for small business."

NSW ELECTION: LIBERAL V LABOR KEY POLICIES ENERGY LIBS Driving down prices while maintaining supply. A policy to give up to 300,000 households interest free loans to build solar energy and battery storage systems. Also aiming for zero net emissions by 2050.

LABOR Would deliver seven gigawatts of extra renewable energy by 2030. The party would also establish a new state-owned power company to deliver a further one gigawatt of renewable energy and storage over the next decade.

EDUCATION LIBS Airconditioning 900 schools for $500m.

100,000 free TAFE courses with 20 per cent of tradies on government construction sites to be apprentices.

LABOR Airconditioning every classroom in public schools at a cost of $800m. Free TAFE courses for 600,000 students in skills shortage areas such as disability care, aged care, childcare and construction.

TRANSPORT & INFRASTRUCTURE LIBS $20b for the Sydney Metro with the first stage opening in May 2019.

$1.9b for the construction and refurbishment of three Sydney stadiums.

LABOR Set aside $8b to fast-track the Western Metro and $3b to improve Sydney's ageing rail network. Cashback for the M4 toll and free public transport for schoolchildren.

HEALTH LIBS Recruit 5,000 extra nurses and midwives at a cost of $2.8b. Also $1b towards upgrading St George and Ryde hospitals, and $1b for Nepean Hospital.

LABOR Enshrine nurse to patient ratios into law and deliver more security staff to hospitals.

$1b Nepean Hospital upgrade.

DEVELOPMENT & PLANNING LIBS Want to take a "breather" from rapid population growth and have ordered an urgent review into overdevelopment in Ryde.

LABOR Wants to tear up Sydney's housing supply targets and send the Greater Sydney Commission back to the drawing board.

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