Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed at the PAP Convention this morning that higher taxes are inevitable and stressed that it is a matter of when and not if taxes will be hiked.
Interestingly, when claims that the government would raise taxes erupted in 2015, a month before that year’s General Election, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) was quick to refute the claims, saying that they had no basis.
Posting a statement on the matter online, MOF reiterated Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s earlier assertion that increased spending planned for the rest of the decade is sufficiently provided for by measures that the Government had already taken.
Touching on the PAP government’s future priorities at the party conference today, PM Lee said that the government will explain the need and uses of the money in advance.
One of the major projects the government is expected to spend heavily on is the MRT network expansion project. More than $20 billion dollars will be plugged into this project which will take about 5 years to complete.
The new Terminal 5 at Changi Airport which also cost “tens of billions of dollars,” according to an earlier statement by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
The government is expected to incur heavy costs as it invests in infrastructure, the economy, social services and healthcare as well. These costly investments are necessary, PM Lee said, adding that “we have to make sure that we can afford them” by planning ahead:
“They are a vote of confidence in Singapore’s future
“Just as our forefathers saved and invested to build what we, the current generation, are enjoying today, so too we must plant trees so that our sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters, can enjoy the shade.”
PM Lee further asserted that there is enough revenue for this current term of government but that revenue must increase in the future as spending rises.
Thus, the government must “stretch our dollars, and make every dollar count,” PM Lee stressed.