Singapore’s 2013 budget certainly tries to give Singaporeans what they have been clamoring for: Stricter limits on foreign labour, carrots and sticks to increase local productivity, a more progressive tax structure, more measures to cool house and car prices. Through the budget, the government wants to establish a more ‘inclusive society’:
Marketdecoder presents a succinct summary of the budget which critics say is infused with populist programs. Meanwhile, Roy takes a step back and examines the macro-political impact of these giveaways. He says:
A Better Singapore
We are transforming our economy so that we can have
Quality Growth – growth that will provide all Singaporeans a better quality of life.
And we are taking further steps towards a more Inclusive Society – starting with our children, helping lower income workers, and providing better lives for our retirees
The other way to look at Budget 2013 is to look at it as a corrective budget.
… Budget 2013 is the start of a series of evolutionary budgets which will be aimed at correcting the missteps by the Singapore government of the economy over the past 10 years or so.
It’s clear that some of the budget initiatives are aimed at the Singapore property market, which has been in a bit of a bubble lately, with house prices increasing much faster than income.
Many are worried that their asset prices will fall as a result of the new property tax initiatives. However, Natasha Goh produces a detailed analysis about the impact of the budget on real estate:
Some analysts also talk about the increase in supply of rental units due to the abolishment of property tax concessions on vacant properties. While I think there might be some increase, I don’t think the numbers will be significant.
Signs of Struggle lists some of the recommendations of parliament members:
Janil Puthucheary (PAP) recommended that free public transport rides be given at off peak hours to try and change commuter behaviour and reduce peak load.
Irene Ng (PAP) asked that respect for all people be shown by recognising a “living wage” level at which a wage is considered fair.
Christopher de Souza (PAP) asked for the preschool sector to be nationalised, pushing against the tide of the G trying to privatise everything.
andyxianwong sees ‘structural flaws’ in the proposal:
To see the government claiming this as a progressive and inclusive budget when it suffers from a number of structural flaws is troubling. It is particularly worrying to see the government embracing expensive, short-sighted populist policies in the light of increasing political discontent…The fact that the budget also appears to pour money into already profitable government linked companies, some of which will inevitably return to the government at the end of the year, is also concerning. Why is it that government spending so often results in putting very little cash into the hands of those who need it most?
Arra's World reacts to the high allotment for the salaries of government officials:
My personal view is that I do not mind them politicians getting paid top dollar to run a country, god knows it is more difficult then running an MNC. I do mind paying mindless scholars with zero EQ the same amount. I also do mind that our policies haven't improved much. Lastly, I do mind that my children will have a hard time scrapping for a roof over their head regardless of the millions of dollars we had paid our politicians. Smells like an insurance scam.