PM Lee hints that taxes will go up in Budget 2018 through feel-good CNY message

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appears to have hinted that taxes will rise when Budget 2018 is unveiled next week, through a feel-good message he wrote in commemoration of Chinese New Year.

In the post, PM Lee wrote that the challenges of caring for Singapore’s aging population and providing for the next generation would “guide the thinking” behind Budget 2018, which will be delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat after the Chinese New Year holidays, on Monday, 19 Feb.

Besides focusing on how our population is aging, the PM said that the nation must focus on investing heavily in the younger generation, as well. He added, We should uphold our time-tested Asian values of thrift, self-reliance, and leaving something more for our children, instead of burdening them with their parents’ debts.  We must always think beyond the immediate and beyond ourselves, to look and plan over the horizon on behalf of future generations.”

This statement brings to mind the reason PM Lee gave last year when he confirmed that a tax hike is inevitable and that is not a matter of whether but when tax is increased.

The head of government had explained then that while there is enough revenue for this current term of government, the government and the people must bear the cost of increased spending for the sake of the next generation.

The PM appears to be reiterating this explanation with his official Chinese New Year message:

“Chinese New Year is about family. The many Chinese New Year traditions passed down from generation to generation are steeped in family values. Families gather on Chinese New Year’s eve for reunion dinners (团圆饭). Even those who are abroad will make an effort to connect with their families back home, and celebrate this special occasion together. We stay up through the night to see the year in (守岁) for our parents’ longevity, and give our children red packets (压岁钱) for good fortune. These customs reflect the enduring hopes of every generation, that our aging parents live well in their silver years, and our children grow up happy and successful, in a peaceful and prosperous world.
“Honouring our seniors and nurturing the young are not just limited to individual families; they are values and attitudes which hold our society together. As a people too, we should look after the elderly as we are the beneficiaries of their labours, and care for the young who carry our hopes for the future.
“Our population is aging. We are working to enable Singaporeans to lead active and meaningful lives in their silver years. This means creating strong social support and community networks, keeping elders socially engaged, and building up healthcare systems and services. It is not just younger generations taking care of their elderly parents, but today’s generation looking ahead and providing for our older selves of tomorrow.
“At the same time, we strive to give our children the best chances in life. We are fortunate to live in Asia – a dynamic and fast growing region. We should prepare ourselves to seize the many economic opportunities around us. We should make full use of new technologies, to progress with our partners and neighbours. We will help our young to uncover their diverse talents, and invest heavily in them through education and training, so that when they grow up they can strike out on their own, build their own families and careers, and fulfil their aspirations and dreams. We will invest in Singapore, to build our city and infrastructure, and upgrade our living environment and economy, so that the next generation can continue to create new possibilities, prosper and flourish.  We should uphold our time-tested Asian values of thrift, self-reliance, and leaving something more for our children, instead of burdening them with their parents’ debts.  We must always think beyond the immediate and beyond ourselves, to look and plan over the horizon on behalf of future generations.
“I hope you will reflect on these issues in quieter moments over the festive season, in between celebrating with friends and family. The Government too will not stop thinking about what it needs to do, to ready our society for these challenges. Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver his Budget speech on Monday, immediately after the holiday weekend. These issues guide the thinking behind the Budget. Let us build our shared future together, so that generations of Singaporeans can look forward to more prosperous and joyous Chinese New Years.
“As we usher in the year of the Dog, let us be dogged in our efforts to create a better Singapore and a brighter future for our children. Let us also cherish the blessings of kinship, thank our elders for what they have done for us, shower our children with love, and create more shared happy memories with our families.
“Happy Chinese New Year! 祝大家狗年兴旺,万事如意!”

The Prime Minister’s explanation that taxes must go up to accommodate groups like seniors has attracted criticism from civil society players and politicians. SDP chairman Dr Paul Tambyah is one such personality who asserted that the government should not use the aging population as an excuse to raise taxes, in the recent Budget 2018 forum organised by The Independent:

Don’t use aging population as an excuse to raise taxes: SDP chairman on Budget 2018

Incensed netizens condemn high ministerial salaries as PM Lee confirms impending tax hike

99 COMMENTS

  1. < "...We should prepare ourselves to seize the many economic opportunities around us. ...">
    ****
    Looking @ cronies like that Sink-NOL-go-SPH ex-general, the diamond-rice-bowl ex-general (again) & those Ministers/MPs who kept their jobs despite their failures, he certainly has his party members prepared well to seize lobangs.

    • I hope you are not the poster boy for the 30%. Using dirty words behind a nick called “Anonymous” proves what? That you are very macho? Use your own name and print your NRIC No plus use your recent passport photo for your avatar, then I will say you got balls! Otherwise, you are just another coward!

  2. One day your next generation all foreign talent who hardly work and wait for payouts. Some are leeches who live off others hard work and some who only want their work to be seen and heard. Who are these unfortunate people in the middle who think there is a future or pretending there is one. The Sacrifice will decide everyone journey

  3. One day your next generation all foreign talent who hardly work and wait for payouts. Some are leeches who live off others hard work and some who only want their work to be seen and heard. Who are these unfortunate people in the middle who think there is a future or pretending there is one. The Sacrifice will decide everyone journey

  4. They took billions of our father’s generation hard earned money and promised to grow. Now we are seeing nothing returning. For the hundreds of billions, even if they had invested in safe instruments, we should have enough to look after our ageing population. How many old people are there? Not in millions, even if one million old people are there, we can’t feed? That means they failed. Sorry I won’t buy any more stories. Unless open the book and show us the true situation. We had enough!

  5. What is the purpose of our reserves. Under what circumstances can we use it. How much is in the reserves
    What are out investments and show us the books. Convince us why we should contribute. If you have squandered our savings, you find the solution. You are paid millions to govern. Not to squander and tax us.

  6. Extreme ministerial salaries is one matter but much more costly is bloated unproductive gigantic ministries & bureaucracies. Improving productivity must start from the top. Appointing the right skilful experienced Singaporeans to manage our hard earned reserves is very necessary.

  7. So he said they will take care of the poor. What he means he will squeeze the poor bone dry. When a country fails it raises taxes. Very clear he ran out of ideas to manage a small country. Indonesian President paid lowly manage a country with a population of over 260 Million, here our PM paid obscene salaries for promises he has yet to delivery. You fucking 70% time to wake up and open you bloody eyes.

  8. ⛳The next generation is endless but the current dictator’s generation will surely come to an end very soon!
    Whe our great ecomist elite Dr Goh Keng Swee started the “Reserve Funds”, the party said that it is meant for the next generation, not the future unending generations, especially not the imported immigrants or foreign talents!
    The next generation of Dr Goh Keng Swee and LKY is the current senior citizens age 60-75 but did PAP distribute Universal basic income to this generation who are unemployed and with medical issues ??? With the implementation of GST by the dishonourable son, the great mathematician only clever to make the poor, much poorer and to fill his family’s coffins, but has not honoured the will of the old guards!
    He has the cheeks to preach what he did not practise about Chinese New Year reunion dinner when his only two siblings are not invited! A good leader must be a role model, not singing and dancing with no emotion
    Please stop using our aging population as an excuse to raise taxes when you already lock up our aging population CPF funds!
    This year lots of citizen tree blossom 鉄树开花!The lost of GRC to opposing part seems impossible has become possible by GE2019

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