Budget 2015: The pros, the cons and the mehs…

There’s something good, something bad and something “yeah whatever” in this year’s Budget. We sieve through hundreds of minutes of gahmen speak so that you don’t have to! Let’s see what Tharman has in store for us!

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The pros!

What’s in it for..

…the elderly…

  • Silver Support Scheme will be a major new feature in our social security system. It will supplement incomes for 20% to 30% of seniors in their retirement years.
  • The  “Silver Support Scheme” will provide eligible seniors with $300-$700 every quarter
  • By the end of this year, we will have 24 Social Service Offices (SSOs) in our HDB towns to disburse social assistance and coordinate social services for those in difficulty

Silver_Support_Scheme

…Personal development…

  • “Skills future” is new phase of investment for people that includes study awards, fellowships, a lifelong “SkillsFuture Credit” which every Singaporean will receive that will be topped up at regular intervals.
  • All Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive an initial credit of $500 for work skills-related courses from 2016. Further top-ups to SkillsFuture Credit will be made at regular intervals. These credits will not expire, but can only be used for education and training

 

…To promote career longevity…

As recommended by the NTUC, the following improvements will be made:

  • Contribution rate of CPF for workers aged 50-55 will be restored to the same level as younger workers.
  • For workers aged 55-60, the contribution rate by employers will be increased by 1%. For workers aged 60-65, the employers contribution rate will increase by 0.5%. This will take place 1’st January 2016. (Employers will have “Temporary Employment Credit” to help offset these changes)
  • Government will pay an additional 1% of interest to the first $30k of CPF balances for workers above the age of 55
  • Wage Credit Scheme will be extended to 2017. This means Government will co-fund 20% of wage increases given to Singaporean employees earning $4k and below

Wage_Credit_Scheme_Budget

…For the students…

  • Fees for ITE, polytechnic exams, PSLE and GCE exams will be waived for Singaporean students in Government schools
  • There will be a $150 top-up to Edusave Accounts of Singaporean students aged 7 to 16
  • MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) will be widened. This will include a transport subsidy to help cover half of students transport costs
  • A top-up to the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) of Singaporeans aged 17 to 20 will be made. The majority will receive $500. (This is to help them save for tertiary education)

 

…For the assistance of middle-income…

  • There will be a Personal Income Tax Rebate of 50%. The cap is set at $1,000
  • The Foreign Domestic Worker concessionary levy will be reduced from $120 a month to $60 a month

 

…For the charities…

  • Tax deductions will be increased from 250% to 300% for donations made in this Jubilee Year of 2015. This means for every dollar that you donate in 2015, the Government is more than doubling it

 

…or the assistance of the elderly and the low income…

  • There will be an increase of $50 for low income households in the cash based GST-Voucher payouts. Eligible individuals will receive $300 cash
  • Seniors aged 55 and above will get a GSTV Seniors bonus in 2015. They will get up to $600
  • Those aged 65 (and living in HDB) will get an additional $300. This will mean a payout of up to $900
  • There will be S&CC rebates of one to three months. 1- and 2-room HDB households will receive a total of three months of rebates for this year, while 3- and 4-room households will receive two months of rebates
  • The use of Medisave to be widened. Details to come following the debates in the coming days.

 

The cons

Yeah, this is the not so pretty stuff…

  • High income earners will see increased taxes. This will affect Personal income tax rates of our top income earners. It will take effect in YA 2017.
  • The marginal tax rates that affect the top 5% of our income earners will be raised. The top marginal rate by two percentage points, from 20% to 22% for the highest income earners, with a chargeable income above $320,000. It will apply starting with income earned in 2016, and on taxes to be paid in 2017.
  • PIC Bonus will expire in 2015. So those of you abusing it, neh neh neh
  • Petrol taxes will be raised (first since 2003) and will take place this evening. This is purported to control carbon emissions and to limit car usage
  • But to sweeten this, there will be a one time road tax rebate. 20% for cars, 60% for motorcycles, and 100% for commercial vehicles using petrol

11000618_1029688423714729_2245626076517850117_n

 

The mehs~

Yeah, interesting announcement…but doesn’t really concern me eh?

  • CPF salary ceiling will be raised to benefit middle-income Singaporeans. Today, if you’re earning $5k and above, CPF doesn’t want your money. This limit has been raised to $6k so that you’ll get more interest.

Well…i’d rather spend the money today to be honest.

  • The National Productivity Fund will be topped up by $1.5b this year.

Yeah. More money for the companies and productivity still hasn’t increased?

  • $14b has been deployed to improve the public transport system and another $26b has been committed for the next 5 years.

Well, show us the decrease in train breakdowns, then we’ll talk…

  • Government spending will inevitably rise. Projected overall spending to reach about 19% to 19.5% of GDP on average over the next five years. This is about 1% of GDP higher than the revenues we have today.

That’s your problem dudes.. that’s what we voted you guys in to worry about.

  • Today GIC contributes up to 50% of their “Net Investment Returns” (or ‘profit’ in layman terms). Temasek will be included in this Net Investment Returns framework.

We don’t care where you get your money from… just don’t get it from our taxes.

  • The Government will donate $20,000 to each school to use for the causes that they identify.

Yeah, so they can spend money and play? None of my business…

 

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Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at www.rangosteen.com and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

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2 Comments

  • “All Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive an initial credit of $500 for work skills-related courses from 2016. Further top-ups to SkillsFuture Credit will be made at regular intervals. These credits will not expire, but can only be used for education and training”

    Wayang only IMHO – most of us won’t be able to use it and for PMETs, it’s not that we are not qualified; some employers deem that we are overqualified and prefer to hire a cheaper FT (often with dubious qualifications) instead :(

  • Dear Sir,
    I am 58 years old, a working mother of 3 grown up kids. Two of them are working and ther one is studying in ITE that still needs financial support.

    I have no choice but to hire a maid to take care of my house chores and most important our meals.
    Reason being I am working in Tuas area and residence is tampines, leaving for work at 6am and return home around 7.30pm.

    I would greatly appreciate Mr. Minister to consider and to exclude this group of working mother out in the new maid levy concession as your support will ease our financial burden.

    Thank you.
    Pheck Leng

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