Wednesday night was a great result with Queensland winning on the field, but off the field, the divide between New South Wales and Queensland is getting worse.
Last week we highlighted an announcement that the New South Wales Government was encouraging businesses to move there, by adjusting payroll tax. This week New South Wales has gone one step further with the abolishment of stamp duty, replacing it with property tax.
Historically States have used taxation as an incentive, as a catalyst for growth and removed or amended it if it was not fit for purpose. A classic example of this is death duties, inheritance taxes, or estate taxes, commonly known as the death tax. It was interesting to see the death tax used in recent political campaigns when many people don’t know much about it. Like payroll and stamp duty today, death tax was an important source of state revenue leading up to the 19th Century, and by the time of federation in 1901, it had been adopted by all of the nation’s states.
Fast forward to the early 1970s, and both state and federal governments had come under pressure to remove, or at least amend, this method of taxation. The rates had not been adjusted since the 1940s, and they were subjecting low-income earners to estate taxes (Reinhart and Steel, 2006). Farmers and small business owners long opposed this tax because of its impact on their estates and business succession plans. So, in the early 1970s there was a push for it to be abolished led by a little known Independent Western Australian Senator, Sydney Negus. Negus was a carpenter and builder and saw how unfair this tax was. He went on a national speaking tour and found a receptive Queensland Government that indeed abolished all death taxes in 1975 (Novak, 2011).
Queensland then paved the way for the abolishment of this high scale tax. It was a pivotal moment in history which gave Queensland an edge as a low tax state (Novak, 2011). Rumour has it that the Gold Coast was built with capital moving very quickly from other states.
But what happened next is worth a mention too. Every other state abolished death Tax within a short period of time as Queensland was seen to have gained such an advantage…. like New South Wales is trying to do now…
Last night in the State of Origin we saw a new young Queenslander, Harry Grant make a spectacular debut and along with his teammates led “Queensland’s Worst Ever Team” to victory. So, we have a new star player on the field, but do we have a Sydney Negus for off the field?