Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) yesterday asked Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong whether GST will be raised. In responding to him, Mr Wong said that the GST is a progressive tax and that it was keeping its options open.
"Madam, the Minister for Finance appears to be laying the ground to prepare Singaporeans for a rise in taxes. He said that “we will have to raise revenues through new taxes or raise tax rates” to keep our finances sustainable.I would therefore like to ask the minister, what are the new forms of taxes that he is considering? What are the ministry’s considerations in introducing new taxes, and what are the principles guiding these considerations?" – Low Thia Khiang, Ministry of Finance Committee of Supply, Budget 2017.
Posted by The Workers' Party on Wednesday, 8 March 2017
The following is the text of the exchange between Mr Low and Mr Wong in Parliament on the topic:
Mr Low: Will the Government raise GST before the end of this decade? Does the minister agree that GST vouchers do not fully offset the amount of GST paid by lower-income households?
Mr Wong: As the Finance Minister said, we are studying all revenue options. Let’s not jump to the conclusion of which particular tax is going to be increased or when. The point is that we are preparing ahead, and we’re studying and keeping our options open at this time. GST is a progressive tax, the way we have designed it. It’s not a question of whether its offsets are sufficient to cover everything that the low income has to pay – but it’s the overall progressivity of the system. And the way we have designed the GST with a permanent voucher is to make it a progressive consumption tax.