Former Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris says the federal government should consider adopting key recommendations in the ‘Shifting The Dial’ report, which the Commission released in 2017. In particular, he has called for state governments to phase out stamp duties on property transactions in favour of a land tax, arguing that this would help to boost productivity and stimulate economic growth. Current PC chairman Michael Brennan has also advocated the abolition of stamp duty. From The Australian:
Scott Morrison is being urged to encourage the states to replace stamp duty with new land taxes in a move former Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris says would drive a productivity explosion across Australia…
“Those reforms in particular would be replacing stamp duty over time with a land tax. It’s a much more stable form of revenue with a much broader base than just housing sales. It would take a 10- to 20-year transition but the federal government could make a revenue guarantee by effectively borrowing on their behalf as they shift from stamp duty to land tax which would provide stability in their revenue base. Ratings agencies would completely understand the transfer and wouldn’t treat this as unproductive debt” [Peter Harris said].
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