Reason for Budget Deficit

Apr 10, 2012

Q. The Federal Government is currently running a budget deficit, but intends to return to surplus with the budget for 2012-13 to be announced next month. Which of the following do you think has been most responsible for the deficit over the last few years?

 

Total 11/4/11

Total 10/4/12

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Poor economic management by the Government

23%

28%

7%

48%

7%

Big companies not paying their fair share of taxes

17%

16%

28%

5%

28%

Lower tax revenues because of the Global Financial Crisis

13%

16%

27%

10%

22%

Spending on big projects like the National Broadband Network

14%

15%

14%

17%

10%

The cost of the Government’s GFC stimulus packages

19%

12%

11%

13%

15%

Don’t know

15%

14%

13%

8%

18%

Overall, respondents believe the main reasons for the budget deficit are poor economic management by the Government (28%), big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (16%) and lower tax revenues because of the Global Financial Crisis (16%).

Since this question was asked 12 months ago, those blaming the Government for poor economic management has increased from 23% to 28% and those blaming the cost of the Government’s GFC stimulus packages has declined from 19% to 12%.

Labor voters were most likely to blame big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (28%) and lower tax revenues because of the GFC (27%) while Liberal/National voters blame poor economic management by the Government (48%). Greens voters tended to blame big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (28%).

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Return to Surplus

Apr 10, 2012

Q. Do you think it is more important for the Government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?

 

Total 4/4/11

 

Total 28/11/11

Total 10/4/12

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Return to surplus by 2012/13, cut services, raise taxes

14%

13%

12%

13%

13%

7%

Delay return to surplus, maintain services, invest in infrastructure

69%

71%

73%

73%

76%

81%

Don’t know

17%

15%

15%

13%

12%

12%

 

12% support the return to surplus by 2012/13 if it means cutting services and raising taxes and 73% think the Government should delay the return to surplus and maintain services and investment. Support for a return to surplus has not significantly changed since this question was asked in November last year.

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Measures to Return to Surplus

Apr 10, 2012

Q. In order to meet their commitment to return to surplus in 2012-13, which measures should the Government take?

Total

11/4/11

Total 10/4/12

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Increase taxes for big corporations

63%

67%

81%

55%

80%

Reduce tax breaks for high income earners

51%

57%

65%

52%

71%

Postpone major infrastructure projects like the NBN

na

41%

29%

58%

19%

Reduce defence spending

32%

38%

42%

30%

64%

Cut “middle class welfare” such as the Baby Bonus, first home buyers grant and Family Tax Benefit payments

36%

36%

37%

38%

36%

Cut spending on unemployment and disability benefits

21%

23%

18%

32%

12%

It does not need to return to surplus so quickly

38%

63%

67%

66%

58%

Overall, the most favoured means of returning the budget to surplus were increasing taxes for big corporations (67%) and reducing tax breaks for high-income earners (57%). Both these measures were strongly favoured by Labor and Greens voters.

Although support was less strong, these two measures were also two of the three the most preferred among Liberal/National voters – 58% think the Government should postpone major infrastructure projects like the NBN.

The main changes since this question was asked 12 months ago are increases in support for reducing tax breaks for high-income earners (up 6%) and reducing defence spending (up 6%).

Note, although 63% thought that the budget does not need to return to surplus so quickly, some of these respondents also agreed with some of the measures listed.

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Federal Budget Surplus

Apr 4, 2011

Q. Do you think it is more important for the Government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Return to surplus by 2012/13 14% 16% 16% 9%
Delay return to surplus 69% 72% 70% 72%
Don’t know 17% 12% 13% 19%

69% support delaying the return to surplus if it means cutting services and raising taxes – while 14% think it is more important to return to surplus by 2012/13.

78% of those aged 45+ support delaying the return to surplus.

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