SENATOR John ‘Wacka’ Williams has a plan to abolish payroll tax, which he called a “tax on employment” – however, it hinges on government failing to get all of its proposed tax cuts through.
Senator Williams has suggested that if the federal government falls short of getting the remaining tax cuts through parliament, the money that it saves could be given to the state government as an offset for abolishing payroll tax.
Last week, Senator Williams met with a number of Inverell’s largest employers, with New England MP Barnaby Joyce joining on the phone.
“They are all being affected by the drought, and they see payroll tax as a huge liability on their viability,” he said.
“I believe payroll tax has become a fundraiser for state governments. It is a tax on employment.
“Businesses refuse to put on additional staff because of payroll tax. A business can run at a loss but still have to pay payroll tax.”
Senator Williams is still waiting on the numbers to be crunched before he officially puts his idea forward.
“I am waiting on information from the Parliamentary Budget Office and I will be raising this matter in the Nationals party room,” Senator Williams said.
Boss Engineering co-owner Michael Grill said his business was paying $300,000 a year in payroll tax.
“We should be employing another six to seven production workers with that money,” he said.
“It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty – a penalty for businesses that are successful. It’s just got to end all together.”
Inverell Freight owner Keri Brown has been forced to reduce his staff due to payroll tax.
“There’s only to one way to avoid paying it, and that’s not to employ anyone,” Mr Brown said.
“It’s an absolute joke. The state government is always going on about creating jobs, but payroll tax is one of the biggest barriers to employing people.”
The NSW government recently increased the payroll tax threshold to $1 million in the 2018/19 budget.
According to the NSW Business Chamber, more than 80 per cent of regional businesses won’t go past the $1 million mark.
Mr Brown said the state government $1 million threshold didn’t go far enough.
“That’s only really playing at the margins,” Mr Brown said.