Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled a slew of new measures during todays’ National Day Rally 2018: CHAS expansion, the Merdeka Generation Package, a second round of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP II), and VERS – where the government will buy back older HDB flats at a yet-to-be-determined fee.
Considering that public monies are required to fund all these initiatives, the next logical question is – where is all the money going to come from?
Recall the S$9 billion Pioneer Generation Package which was launched in 2014 offering senior citizens Medisave top-ups and subsidies for their healthcare spending.
In 2018 alone, the government says that the Medisave top-up component alone will cost taxpayers S$180 million. A similar sum was spent in 2017.
Also recall that since 2015, the government has consistently raised taxes and fees across a range of basic public goods and services, resulting in escalating cost of living.
It will be a tedious exercise to go into the details of all the increases (and their ripple effects on overall cost of living), but let’s use some of the most prominent examples so far:
-water price increase of up to 30 percent
-S&CC hike of up to 30 percent
-petrol tax hike of 40 percent
-ERP prices raised by up to 100 percent, more ERP gantries erected
-carbon tax, which will raise costs for households and businesses
-e-commerce tax once the government makes up its mind about pricing structure and victims
-GST increase to 9 percent once the government decides on an optimum time
Just some of the increases there.
And, to remind you, there are ripple effects on overall cost of living when businesses are impacted -did you really expect towkays to do you a favour and absorb the millions they will incur in additional taxes? Like Edwin Tong, they also have parents and in-laws and maybe a dog or two to take care of.
So, expect more tax hikes and price hikes to come sooner rather than later so that you can help the government live up to its promises and maintain its benevolent image.
And remember – all this comes at a cost.