Monday, August 25, 2008

The cost of tax cuts

Ever since National started on their usual electoral bribe of promising big tax cuts for the rich, people have been wondering how we would end up paying for it. Would it be service cuts to hospitals? Schools? Would the cost be dumped on our children through higher public debt?

Now it seems we have part of the answer: under National, you'll have to pay for roads. If you want to drive across Auckland or get to work in a reasonable time, you'll have to fork out "between $3 and $5" to one of their cronies for the privilege. Multiply that out by two trips a day, five days a week, and you're looking at $30 - $50 a week - or almost exactly the amount they're promising to give out in tax cuts.

That doesn't seem like a very good deal to me.

Update: Just to make this clear, it is for new roads only - but given the list of possible toll projects (e.g. Transmission Gully), they are very obviously roads which are going to be built anyway and which people would be able to use for free under the current government.

It also seems that Bill English has squashed Williamson's figures of $30 - $50 a week; instead it'll only be $20. But he refuses to commit to free alternate routes being available, and even suggests tolling existing roads in order to guarantee the profits of his cronies pay for new ones. Which still leaves them open to the same question: if the government gives you a tax cut, and then rips it straight back by making you pay more for roads, schools, and hospitals, are you really better off?