I figured the main carrots for the people would be conservancy rebates, lower income taxes and workfare bonuses in the coming Budget. Conservancy rebates and workfare bonuses would be meant for the lower income i.e. those in HDB 4-rooms and below would benefit more. The lower income taxes would be more for the middle income. The last time income tax was lowered were in 2007 when it dropped by up to 1% point. I doubt there would be an income tax rebate like that in 2009 but if they can repeat or do better on the 20% income tax rebate up to a cap of $2000, it would be a nice big carrot. We will know on 18 February.
Besides, the regime can easily make up for the lower taxes and rebates distributed by increasing GST to 10% after the election which is expected in the second quarter of 2011. A little bit of pork barrel politics never hurts.
Budget to transform Singapore economy: PM Lee
By Zakir Hussain
THE upcoming Budget will continue to emphasise growing and transforming the Singapore economy and enabling all Singaporeans to have the skills and ability to do better for themselves, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday.
‘Especially at the lower end, if we want to uplift people, the best way is to uplift their skills and redesign their jobs and improve what workers are able to do,’ he added.
Mr Lee was speaking to reporters at the Bukit Merah depot of waste management company SembWaste on the first day of the Chinese New Year, when he traditionally visits workers who perform essential duties to thank them for keeping Singapore going when most people are busy celebrating.
On Thursday, he presented hongbao and mandarin oranges to some 200 waste collection truck drivers, crew and maintenance workers, tossed yu sheng and spent over an hour chatting with them.
‘It’s an essential service – the rest of us are enjoying the festival, and being with our families, but they’re working hard, keeping Singapore clean, keeping our systems going,’ he said of his visit.
The Government’s Budget for the coming financial year will be delivered in Parliament by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Feb 18. Measures to help Singaporeans – especially low-income families – cope with the rising cost of living are expected to be a dominant feature of the Budget.