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Your views: on Liberals and land tax

Reader contributions

Today, readers maintain the rage about land tax changes and the Liberal Government they once supported.

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Commenting on the story: “I hate what’s happened to my state”: Maras slams ‘aspiration tax’

I think most aspects of the protest against this iniquitous land tax have been canvassed by others, but there is an aspect which is less obvious, but no less damaging for the proponents, vis permanent political damage.

It is clear that the anger out there is palpable. It started with opposition against the tax. It developed when the government figures were proved to be all over the place.

It was parlayed to a more serious  level by the manner in which it was handled by Mr. Lucas.

Comments like; “We won’t bend over for the Property Council”, “People with $3 or $4 million in property paying no tax.” (totally misleading). “92% will be better off”.

The remaining 8% of us pay the bulk of the taxes, are big employers, create wealth, take risk, invest, trade, develop this State.

Many are migrants who started with nothing. Lived the Australian dream. Created a legacy for the next generation. Not many of them were suckled on the teat of the political life, funded by the taxpayers.

“Big end of town,” “Mum and Dad investors.” A sad class division tactic borrowed from Labor. Shame, Mr Lucas!

The superior, take it or leave it demeanour. It reminds one of Mark Ricciuto’s invitation to supporters of the Crows to stop supporting if they did not like what the board was doing. Many accepted. Is yours a similar invitation, Mr. Lucas?

Mr Lucas, we don’t ask anyone to “bend over.” We ask for intelligent, equitable, respectful Government.  In any case, this is not the language we expect from our leaders.

All this notwithstanding, I was moved to write when I saw the shameful treatment of Dr. Timothy Goh. It was a further class-dividing tactic.

How dare the Liberals ridicule the success of a self-made migrant because he likes beautiful cars. I don’t know the man nor his story, but is his opinion on tax to be discarded because he has an expensive car?

He would have paid for it after paying the tax which would have gone towards the cost of your taxpayer-funded car and driver, Mr. Lucas.

The anger has been  allowed to reach white hot because the matter was badly managed. When a conflict is allowed to drag on too long, the attendant anger becomes ossified and permanent, even after the  matter is resolved.

It develops a life of it’s own and becomes a lightning rod for all sorts of unrelated anger in the community. I reference the current Hong Kong protests as a compelling example.

The source of the protests was the proposed extradition law. That has now been cancelled, but the protest continues, indeed increases in severity. It is no longer about one issue. The egg cannot be unscrambled. Pandora’s box has been opened.

Mr. Marshall, Mr. Lucas, does the above resonate, or will you continue down this path to Opposition. I would have thought that after 16 years, you would prefer to avoid it.

The political embarrassment of back flipping, while uncomfortable, will be forgotten, but the damage to the Liberals of enacting this tax will be devastating. – Giuliano Ursini

I support fully the comments of Dr Goh, as for any politician to make innuendo about someone’s personal assets that have been obtained through hard work and by paying large amounts of tax is an absolute disgrace.

These are the tactics that are usually reserved for the left of politics, not to be expected from the traditional right.

I now have some respect for federal Labor at the last election, in that they at least disclosed their policy for the public to decide wether to accept it or not.

This government ( I’m reluctant to use the term “Liberal” government ) , has been calculatingly deceitful in not disclosing this policy, and allowing the public the opportunity to decide with their vote.

I have always been a strong Liberal supporter and have contributed a reasonable amount to assist the party when I could, and I have now contacted the fundraising section of the Liberal Party and asked not to be approached in the future.

This betrayal will have repercussions for the Liberals for many elections to come. – Ross Almond

I would like to also express my extreme disappointment at the proposed land tax changes.

We dodged a bullet from Bill Shorten, only to be torpedoed by Rob Lucas and Steve Marshall.

What are they doing?  What a disaster from a so-called Liberal Government.

Let me give a real example.

 I have worked hard long hours all of my life, creating high end jobs for SA, proudly paid many millions of dollars in tax both personally and via my company, and invested any spare dollars in residential real estate.

I have inherited from parents, as has my wife; we have a family trust and a self-managed super fund. 

Although not deliberately set up that way, we have real estate in each of these entities.

We have no other investment – virtually everything we own is invested in residential real estate, and this was meant to provide us with a retirement income.

We currently pay about $30,000 per year in land tax.

Residential property rents do not provide much of a return. Even though we are lowly geared, after all rates and taxes, maintenance, insurances etc, there is a very small profit.

Of course, capital gain is part of the equation for the investment, but capital gain is unlikely to be a positive in the near term.

The proposed land tax changes (aggregation) will increase our land tax bill to over $200,000 per year.  The profits made from our real estate holding would not go close to cover this increase.

So at 69 years of age and hoping to retire soon, I have no option but to sell down our real estate in an already depressed market.  Some may say that is good.

However, as there are many more in my situation, this will mean less rental property available, or at a minimum, rental costs increasing substantially to pay the extra tax and leave a bit of profit for landlords.

Applying this across the Board, property costs impact materially on the cost of doing business, meaning whether it is the local coffee shop or bigger business, selling prices of goods and services have to go up to pay the increased cost of real estate.

So in the end, consumers pay – not business or landlords who have to remain profitable or go bankrupt.

Depending how this is implemented, the SA economy already struggling could go into freefall.

Why would anyone want to invest in a state with such high costs of doing business?

The details are yet to be released, but I can only hope there is at least some phased introduction of changes, some sensible exceptions, and that the top rate of 2.4% does not apply until a much higher threshold is reached.Constantine G Manias

Recently our state treasurer has commented on radio and in articles about those property moguls driving Bentleys and complaining about the new land tax rules.

Well, my wife drives an eight-seater Hiace van.

We are both professionals with small legal and accounting practices, with four children in private school.

Over the years we have borrowed and leveraged off our income to hold eight investment properties.

Currently we pay no land tax; with the proposed legislation I am due for a $15k to $22k annual land tax bill.

Where do I find the funds to pay for this annual bill ?

My wife and I have taken risks, borrowed, built a family; we now face financial ruin.

Come on Treasurer, we could be your son or daughter trying to build a nest egg for our family. Mario Cecere

My husband and I own our office (one property) in a unit trust established in 1995, as an income source for our retirement commencing next year 2020.

Land value of our office with the new valuation is $670,000.

With the proposed changes, our land tax bill will increase from $1505 on current figures, to $6708 on proposed figures – an increase of 345%.

How can this increase be fair?

We struggle to pay even $1505 on the depressed rentals we receive, due to the high vacancy rate of commercial properties in this state.

If this is approved I will use all my resources to make sure this is a one-term government, after being a true Liberal supporter most of my life. Cathryn Scott Ali

Lucas enthused that the land tax reform will put $70 million back into the pockets of tens of thousands of hard working South Australians over three years, implying what?

So who took the $70m out of the pockets of hardworking South Australians in the first place?

By the way, property owners are also hardworking South Australians who are also taxpayers, directly and indirectly; they are savers, investors, risk takers, iInvestors, developers, job creators, suppliers for rent of houses, factories, shops, offices even schools, all manner of property required in an urban environment, and they are on call 24/7.

Well for all their efforts, in all forms of good and bad times, let’s tax them a bit more – they can afford it, and if hurts a little never mind, in just a couple of days they will all go away. – Sam Christodoulou.

For the State Government to be fair on all South Australian landholders who have played by the rules and put in place sound investment strategies through property – including mums and dads establishing self-sustaining retirement funds – why doesn’t the new planned land tax legislation only kick in for South Australian residents when a new property is bought?

So all those who currently have personal and investment property still pay on the current land tax system and are not worse off.

But anyone that buys an additional property after the new rules apply will then come under and automatically transfer all their properties into the new land tax system.

This would enable investors to calculate the new land tax changes and implications, including rental rates into consideration prior to buying the property, unlike the current proposal which will significantly negatively impact and blindside many small business property investors and their tenants. Lisa Botten

Mr Maras was quoted by InDaily as saying “I’ve been away and I’ve watched this from afar, and what I’ve seen is nothing but a Roman Caesar-type tax collection process [where they] imposed a tax on the church, and let them pass it down to the people.”

Never before have I found a quote that so sums up the rhetoric of Adelaide’s property moguls, developers and hangers on.

They consider themselves inline with the church, certainly they expect the same protections.

Do they consider being landholders to be an act of charity? Perhaps it is time we started taxing the church; words I thought I would never say. 

Keep the faith during this inquisition, Mr Marshall. Robert Rundle

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