Media Release - Tim Wilson sledges Parliamentary Budget Office for doing its job

The Liberals’ desperate campaign of fear and loathing has stooped to sledging the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) as part of a partisan inquiry into Labor’s reforms of a Howard-era tax loophole.

The Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics Tim Wilson’s loathing of facts and evidence-based policy analysis has seen him dismiss the PBO’s work on proposed changes to franking credits as “highly questionable”.

Analysis from the PBO shows that 92 per cent of taxpayers in Australia did not receive any cash refunds for excess imputation credits in their 2014-15 tax return, while the majority of refunds go to wealthier households.

The PBO analysis of the 2014-15 data shows that Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) with a balance over $2.44 million claim nearly 53 per cent of the all excess franking credits. SMSFs with a balance over $1 million claim 82 per cent of all excess franking credits.

The fact is most of this tax loophole benefits the very wealthy. But Tim Wilson says Tim Wilson knows better than the dedicated and diligent staff at the PBO:  

“There is modelling [from the PBO] but it is highly questionable that it actually properly analyses the field in terms of the primary impacts and the secondary impacts and whether it will raise the revenue anyone thinks it will.” - Tim Wilson, Transcript of Accountants Daily podcast, 23 November 2018

When asked what modelling the Liberals relied on to counter the PBO’s factual analysis of Labor’s policy, Mr Wilson stumbled and went with a “it’s just the vibe of the thing” defence:

“Well, er, we, we, we, that’s why we said we only have this benchmark polling [the PBO analysis] at the moment and I’m quite sure other modelling will be completed.” - Tim Wilson, Transcript of Accountants Daily podcast, 23 November 2018

Later in the podcast, Mr Wilson admits the Committee’s inquiry is being run with an eye on the Federal election and is designed to generate fear of Labor’s broader economic and fiscal policies.
He also spruiks a blatantly partisan website that seeks to generate pre-filled public submissions for the inquiry he is chairing.

Mr Wilson’s public attack on the PBO - and the very Labor policy he is pretending to chair an inquiry over - make it obvious this really is about ignoring responsible reform. Instead, the Liberals are focusing on creating fear in the community and loathing of the public service.

It’s clear the current system of dividend imputation needs reform; Labor does not think it is fair to spend $7 billion a year on a tax loophole that mainly benefits millionaires who don’t pay income tax – not when school standards are falling and hospital waiting lists are growing longer.

This is a major difference between Labor and Scott Morrison’s government – the Liberals are protecting this huge tax loophole, while cutting community goods like schools and hospitals.

Labor has committed to a pensioner guarantee to protect pensioners from changes to excess dividend imputation credits to ensure every pensioner will still be able to benefit from cash refunds.

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