My statement on refundable franking credits to the House of Representatives Economics Committee

Sun, 10 Feb 2019  |  

I gave a short statement to the House of Representatives Economics Committee on refundable franking credits in Sydney on 8 February 2019.

Below are the notes I used for that Statement which boiled down to two issues, the cost to the budget and how the policy is distorting investment decisions from investors and lazy financial planners.

----------------------------------

Tax policy is always riddled with trade offs.

No government wants to tax anyone more than it needs to, nor should it impose a tax regime that is unfair if it means cuts to services, a heavy tax impost on others in the community or adds unnecessarily to the budget deficit and government debt.

Labor’s policy on refundable franking credits will impact the budget bottom line by more than $5 billion a year.

Without the change, this $5 billion, or $100 million a week, means less money is available for the government to provide health care, roads, education, disability assistance and defence.

It is disconcerting that every dollar of refundable franking credits is currently borrowed by the government.



When people next receive their dividend refund cheque from the government, remember the government has had to borrow that money:

… every cent of it.

… this adds to government debt that will have to be repaid one day in the future by our children and our grandchildren.

I think this is unfair.

-------------------

The policy also distorts the way we Australians invest our savings.

Many investors put money into companies that pay high, fully franked dividends regardless of the underlying strength or potential of that business.

Look at Telstra. The banks.

It is blind, uneducated and lazy investing recommended by lazy financial planners.

It is only the dividend, not the underlying strength of the business, that guides the investment decision.

This is one reason why the Australian stock market is still 15 per cent below the 2007 peak, while the US, German and Canadian stock markets are substantially higher.

None of these countries have refundable franking credits.

Investors in those countries provide finance to dynamic growth companies and strong businesses.

In Australia, such companies are often shunned by investors because they pay no or low dividends.

Investors instead place their money with what are average firms that structure their businesses according to tax policy distortions.

Imagine if the ASX was at 10,000 points, not the 6,000 point level prevailing today?

I suspect the concerns about dividend refunds would be trivial.

The Australian tax distortions mean that local entrepreneurial firms have less access to local capital.

The money is instead tied up in dinosaur companies paying high dividends.

It is one reason why so many of the 21st century technology and start up firms in Australia head overseas to pursue their business models.

This costs the Australian economy growth and jobs.

With the policy change on refundable franking credits, there will be a greater incentive to invest in companies and other assets for reasons of growth and entrepreneurial flair…

… which will be a positive for the economy and jobs …

… and it will be good for the long term future of Australia.

Thank you

 

comments powered by Disqus

THE LATEST FROM THE KOUK

2019-20 budget will be 'problematic': here's why

Wed, 20 Feb 2019

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance website at this link: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/2019-20-budget-will-problematic-heres-194957605.html 

------------------------------------------------------------

2019-20 budget will be 'problematic': here's why

Word has it that the framing of the budget, due to be handed down by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg the day after April fools day (and around 6 weeks before the election), is more problematic than usual.

Problematic because there is some mixed news on the economy that will threaten the current forecast of a return to budget surplus in 2019-20.

Housing has gone into near free-fall, both in terms of prices and new dwelling approvals. This is bad news for GDP growth.  The unexpected severity of the housing slump is the key point that will see Treasury revise its forecasts for GDP growth, inflation and wages lower when the budget is handed down.

It will be impossible for Treasury to ignore the recent run of hard data, including the weakness in consumer spending and a generally downbeat tone in the recent economic news when it sets the economic parameters that will underpin its estimates of tax revenue and government spending and therefore whether the budget is in surplus or deficit.

This is the main driver for a cash rate CUT, and it'll happen soon

Wed, 13 Feb 2019

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance website at this link: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/main-driver-cash-rate-cut-itll-happen-soon-200635247.html 

------------------------------------------------

This is the main driver for a cash rate CUT, and it'll happen soon

The prospect that interest rates will be lowered within the next few months is already starting to impact on the economy.

Here’s how.

Around the middle of 2018, financial markets were expecting the RBA to hike official interest rates to 1.75 or 2 per cent over the course of the next 18 months or so. If proof was needed that investors and economists can get it wrong, markets are now pricing in official interest rates to be cut towards 1 per cent over the next 18 months.

The about face has been driven by a raft of disappointing news on the economy, most notably the fall in house prices, the free-fall in new dwelling building approvals and a slump in retail spending growth.

Business confidence has also taken a hit and job advertisements have been falling for eight straight months. Ongoing low inflation and increasing signs of a slowdown in the global economy have simply added to the case for this dramatic change in market pricing.