The Greens plan to tax miners and banks $42.7 billion extra to fund social policies

The Greens plan to slug the mining industry, big banks and high income-earners with $42.7 billion in new taxes to pay for a range of policy initiatives, the party revealed as it launched its 2013 election campaign on the weekend.

“Einstein once said that you cannot solve problems with the same mindset that created them and that’s why you need the Australian Greens in Parliament,” Greens leader Christine Milne said in Melbourne on Sunday.

“We care about what Australia will be like in 50 years, not just the next three.”

The policy platform includes four targeted tax hikes that have been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

These include adding teeth to the mining tax (to raise $21.8 billion) and abolishing tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, which the independent Parliamentary Budget Office says will raise $12 billion over four years.

The Greens have also proposed a 0.2% levy on bank assets over $100 billion, which will raise $8.4 billion over three years.

Greens Senator and small business spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson told SmartCompany this morning that the proposed tax increases were the result of sound policy advocated by experts outside of the party.

“They are Greens policies, but we’ve borrowed from other commentators and organisations,” Whish-Wilson says.

“With the carbon tax, we obviously had Ken Henry, who wrote the Henry Review which first outlined the mining tax. Our mining tax proposal is very close to the original.

“In relation to the levy on the big banks…the levy is based on the IMF’s proposal for Europe. It’s pure common sense; it’s not a money-grab on the big banks at all. In fact, it’s compensation to the Australian taxpayer for the guarantee we’ve given the banks.

“When the government, during the global financial crisis, guaranteed the banks wouldn’t fail, that guarantee allowed them to purchase wholesale finance and funding at a discount because it enhanced their credit rating. We’re seeking to give that margin back to the taxpayer.”

The fourth tax increase is to the marginal tax rate for those with incomes over $1 million. The Greens propose lifting this marginal rate from its current 45% to 50%. The Greens say will raise $500 million over four years.

These new taxes will help pay for a range of policy initiatives, including a $50 a week increase in Newstart and Youth Allowance, as well as reversing the cuts to university funding passed by the government to pay for the Gonski school funding reforms. The Greens propose also a 10% base funding increase to universities, with funding increases for the tertiary sector totalling $3.8 billion.

The Greens also propose to spend an additional $2 billion on the Gonski school reforms.

The party also wants to raise investment in research and development to 3% of GDP by 2020.

The Greens will release their small business policies “within the month”, Whish-Wilson said.


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