Get more involved: Ripper

TREASURER Eric Ripper said greater business involvement in public debates about State expenditure could help stem excessive demands on government funds.
The treasurer did not mince words when explaining that, unless the business community became more vocal about issues such as the rocketing health budget, it would be the business community that wore the brunt of future increases in Government taxes.
Eric Ripper, Treasurer: “I believe it is right to say you have got to look at expenditure as well. This is where I would like to see business involved in the debate. Not only when the Government announces additional expenditure but when other lobby groups put up their hands and ask for some more expenditure on health or ask about a 30 per cent increase in teachers’ salaries or a 15 per cent increase in police officers’ salaries. 
“If the Government is left to stand alone in the field when those debates are on and the Government loses those debates then you know where the burden is going to fall.  Inevitably, unless you want the Government to go into deficit, it is going to come back on taxation if excessive demands for expenditure are tolerated and win out in the public domain.
“We also have to manage public debates about expectation and business can help us there, business can deal with the taxation side of the argument.
“Business can help by popping up in the debate.
“There is no easy solution – growth, tight management of expenditure, reform, management of community expectations are probably the way forward from the point of view of those interested in keeping the taxation regime as low and as competitive as possible.”

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