Commission on Taxation and Welfare public consultation extended to 17th January

Brendan Burgess

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This got very little coverage in the media.


Commission will look at how best to support economic activity while ensuring sufficient resources available to meet costs of public services
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, TD, has today (Monday) announced the establishment of the Commission on Taxation and Welfare, chaired by Professor Niamh Moloney.

As set out in the Programme for Government, the Commission of Taxation and Welfare is being established to independently consider how best the taxation and welfare systems can support economic activity and promote increased employment and prosperity. This is while ensuring that there are sufficient resources available to meet the costs of the public services and supports in the medium and longer term.

The Commission’s work will have regard to the principles of taxation and welfare policy outlined within the Programme for Government, including the Government’s commitment to a pro-enterprise policy framework, by providing a stable and sustainable regulatory and tax environment. It will also take account of issues such as, the impact of the Covid 19 emergency, aging demographics, digital disruption and automation and the long term strategic commitments of Government regarding health, housing, and climate.

Members will be appointed to the Commission in the coming weeks to bring the necessary expertise to fulfil the objectives of the Commission’s work from relevant areas including taxation, welfare, economics, legal and broader civil society.
The Commission is due to report to the Minister for Finance by 1 July 2022.

...
I am particularly happy to appoint Professor Moloney to Chair the Commission. Professor Moloney’s considerable experience has greatly impressed me and will be put to good use on this seminal project.”
 

Purple

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Professor Niamh Moloney has a seriously impressive CV. I hope she is willing to deviate from the norm and actually suggest the things that everyone from the FT, IMF, EBC and Economist Magazine have been saying for decades. That is broaden the tax base and reduce the share of the tax burden which currently falls on medium to high income labour.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Wednesday, 15th December 2021



Commission on Taxation and Welfare extends the deadline for its Public Consultation, Your Vision, Our Future



The Chair of the Commission on Taxation and Welfare, Professor Niamh Moloney, has today (15 December) announced an extension to the deadline for submissions to its public consultation Your Vision, Our Future by a further 10 days to the 17th January 2022.



The Commission is an independent body tasked by Government to “review how best the taxation and welfare system can support economic activity and income redistribution, whilst promoting increased employment and prosperity in a resilient, inclusive and sustainable way and ensuring that there are sufficient resources available to meet the costs of public services and supports in the medium and longer term.” The specific terms of reference for the Commission can be found at gov.ie/cotw.



Speaking today, Professor Moloney said: “Notwithstanding our tight timeframes, I believe it is essential that we hear from as many people and organisations as we possibly can. In response to the high levels of engagement to date we have taken the decision to extend the deadline for our public consultation to 17 January 2022, allowing individuals and organisations additional time to submit a response and make their voices heard.”



The public consultation for the Commission on Taxation and Welfare was originally launched on 20 October 2021 and can be found at https://cotw.citizenspace.com/. Further information on the work of the Commission can be found at www.gov.ie/cotw.

 

Brendan Burgess

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I don't remember seeing the initial consultation?

You have to wade through a lot of links to find it here


It's actually a questionnaire. ( This rings a bell. Did I fill in this questionnaire already?)

Sections
About You
General
Fiscal Sustainability
Promoting employment
Climate
Housing
Supporting Economic Activity
Tax Expenditures
Public Health
Admin
Submit your ideas.
 

Baby boomer

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It is a very leading questionnaire. It asks, for instance, how the tax and welfare system might best address issues such as climate, housing, health and ensuring adequate resources for public spending. There is a baked in assumption that these issues are, in fact, best addressed by more government action.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to them that a small government, low tax, low public spending option could even be considered.
 

Purple

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It is a very leading questionnaire. It asks, for instance, how the tax and welfare system might best address issues such as climate, housing, health and ensuring adequate resources for public spending. There is a baked in assumption that these issues are, in fact, best addressed by more government action.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to them that a small government, low tax, low public spending option could even be considered.
Don't ask questions to which you don't want to hear the answers.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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It is a very leading questionnaire. It asks, for instance, how the tax and welfare system might best address issues such as climate, housing, health and ensuring adequate resources for public spending.
There is a tendency now in public consultations to put them in online survey form. The plus side is that you get quantitative results as these are very hard to extract from large numbers of submissions. This might also be hard to hear for some, but many, many submissions are from single-issue cranks who haven't read the terms of reference and/or are proposing things that are irrelevant or impractical. That is if you can even read the spidery handwriting in red ink.

The downside is that as you say the questions can be framed in a very leading manner which can lead to skewed results. It also forces people to answer questions they don't have much knowledge of of interest in at the expense of the issue they feel strongly about.

I think it's no harm to both the survey and make a submission on specific things that interest you.
 

Baby boomer

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There is a tendency now in public consultations to put them in online survey form. The plus side is that you get quantitative results as these are very hard to extract from large numbers of submissions. This might also be hard to hear for some, but many, many submissions are from single-issue cranks who haven't read the terms of reference and/or are proposing things that are irrelevant or impractical. That is if you can even read the spidery handwriting in red ink.

The downside is that as you say the questions can be framed in a very leading manner which can lead to skewed results. It also forces people to answer questions they don't have much knowledge of of interest in at the expense of the issue they feel strongly about.

I think it's no harm to both the survey and make a submission on specific things that interest you.
A good post and I would entirely agree regarding the crank element. But what gets me about this is the pretence at openness, consultation and transparency when, in fact, the whole exercise is constrained by the terms of reference. These terms explicitly incorporate the public spending commitments in the Programme for Government.

From the taxpayer's point of view, it's a bit like being told how many pounds of flesh are required, and then being handed a knife with an invitation to select the cutting site. That is not a meaningful choice! It's merely the illusion of choice and is a dishonest exercise in manufacturing an entirely bogus consent to an already predetermined expansion of public spending and increased taxes.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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That is not a meaningful choice! It's merely the illusion of choice and is a dishonest exercise in manufacturing an entirely bogus consent to an already predetermined expansion of public spending and increased taxes.
If you don't like a big state then go off and live on an island somewhere!

I jest, and in many ways share your point of view, but a debate on the optimal size of the state is really very little to do with how best to raise tax and generate welfare policy. No matter how big or small your state you should still do it efficiently.
 

Baby boomer

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If you don't like a big state then go off and live on an island somewhere!
Don't tempt me! Malta has its attractions....
I jest, and in many ways share your point of view, but a debate on the optimal size of the state is really very little to do with how best to raise tax and generate welfare policy. No matter how big or small your state you should still do it efficiently.
Yep, that's true. But isn't it also fair to say that taxes should be raised and spent efficiently? There's also the pretty obvious point that the higher the tax burden, the harder it is to raise it efficiently, because of perverse incentives to engage in tax avoidance, tax evasion and simply opting out of economic activity.

It would seem that in the Irish public service mentality, spending is sacrosanct and on a permanent upward ratchet. Tax becomes the variable in the equation and the taxpayer is seen as a bottomless pit to be pillaged as desired.
 
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Baby boomer

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I see it's just been announced that the Irish tax take has reached its highest ever level of €68.4billion. For some reason, this seems to be reported as A Good Thing. Just pause there for a moment. €68,400,000,000. Or put another way, €13,680 extracted on average, from every man, woman and child in the country. (Yes, yes, there's corporation tax, employer taxes, business rates etc, etc, but ultimately it comes out of someone's pocket, be they shareholder, owner, employee or consumer. And yes, there's some tax effectively paid by overseas shareholders just as Irish investors pay tax to other jurisdictions.)

This massive amount of money should be ample to run the state very well. Imagine the change in mindset if government adopted a policy that this was the maximum amount of taxation that could be extracted, and that ANY additional public spending proposal would have to be balanced by a reduction in spending elsewhere. You know, like we all have to do in our own financial lives.
 

Sophrosyne

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I see it's just been announced that the Irish tax take has reached its highest ever level of €68.4billion. For some reason, this seems to be reported as A Good Thing. Just pause there for a moment. €68,400,000,000. Or put another way, €13,680 extracted on average, from every man, woman and child in the country. (Yes, yes, there's corporation tax, employer taxes, business rates etc, etc, but ultimately it comes out of someone's pocket, be they shareholder, owner, employee or consumer. And yes, there's some tax effectively paid by overseas shareholders just as Irish investors pay tax to other jurisdictions.)

This massive amount of money should be ample to run the state very well. Imagine the change in mindset if government adopted a policy that this was the maximum amount of taxation that could be extracted, and that ANY additional public spending proposal would have to be balanced by a reduction in spending elsewhere. You know, like we all have to do in our own financial lives.
€13,680 per individual might sound like a lot but it isn’t.

Suppose there were no taxes and people had to pay for services formerly supplied by each State department.

For instance, what do you pay annually for waste collection, which used to be a public service and is now delivered entirely by the private sector?

Including the annual charge, I paid circa €600 this year, which included 2 midi skip collections.

Then think about the public services you use regularly and those you might need irregularly from each department.

You might find that your taxes would go nowhere near to covering the market cost of services you use.
 
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Baby boomer

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€13,680 per individual might sound like a lot but it isn’t.
It is in my world. So is €27k for a couple and €54k for the "standard" family unit of 2 adults and 2 kids. That's a serious wedge of money to hand over (actually to have compulsorily confiscated) every year and - at the bare minimum - we're entitled to demand that it be spent efficiently. It isn't.

Suppose there were no taxes and people had to pay for services formerly supplied by each State department.
Invariably, those services would be cheaper, better quality and would offer more choice. Do the thought experiment the other way around - imagine a world where the government had a monopoly on food production, distribution and sale! Do you think we'd have cheaper and better quality food than that supplied by multiple competing growers, manufacturers and supermarkets?

For instance, what do you pay annually for waste collection, which used to be a public service and is now delivered entirely by the private sector?
The price went down when local authorites outsourced the service.

Including the annual charge, I paid circa €600 this year, which included 2 midi skip collections.
Ok, that sounds expensive. I pay less than €20 per month.

Then think about the public services you use regularly and those you might need irregularly from each department.
Many of which are separately charged for.

You might find that your taxes would go nowhere near to covering the market cost of services you use.
I really doubt that. For that proposition to be true on average, the state would have to deliver services at below market cost. It simply doesn't. The state is not good at supplying services at a cost effective price. Air transport, bus services, phones, mobile, etc all dropped in price when the state monopolies were removed.
 

Sophrosyne

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Yes, you pay a fee for certain services but that does not cover the full cost of the service provision.
Just as a bin collection fee does not cover the full cost of waste management and private school fees do not cover the provision of teachers and special needs assistants and grants for capital expenditure provided by the State.

I really doubt that. For that proposition to be true on average, the state would have to deliver services at below market cost. It simply doesn't. The state is not good at supplying services at a cost effective price. Air transport, bus services, phones, mobile, etc all dropped in price when the state monopolies were removed.
This is a misunderstanding.

The main difference between public and private providers is payment.

On the one hand, private operators must be profitable, else they go out of business. They do not have a social obligation so if you can't pay you don't get.

Neither will they give you a bus pass, a subsidy for your utility bills, relief for your health expenses or children's allowance.

On the other hand, the State must provide a myriad of different services even where individual taxes do not cover the cost of all of the services they receive. For instance, over 30% of the population have medical cards, circa 1 in 10 have GP visit cards, not to mention drug payments & various other subsidy schemes.

I'm not suggesting that there is no room for lateral thinking, innovation, research & development, etc., in the provision of public goods & services. But this has to be based on a realistic understanding of population-wide services costs.
 
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