The Ministry of Finance issued a rebuttal on its website against accusations that the government has reversed its 2015 position on not raising taxes.
Quoting DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, they said that the following statement made in 2015 was still accurate today: ‘For this current term of government, we have enough revenue.’ The ministry explains, “The government began its five-year term of office after the General Elections in Sep 2015.”
That means that the government has enough revenue thru 2020, when its five-year term ends, but not after that, according to the Prime Minister. Therefore, the government has to plan for the issue now “to better ease in the needed measures, and to give our people and businesses some time to adjust.”
However, according to the statement released by the ministry on 6 August 2015 before the General Elections, it specifically says that it was dismissing claims of “the Government trying to raise the GST after the next General Elections”.
“There have been claims on some online websites that the Government will raise the GST after the forthcoming General Elections to fund increased spending planned in the next term of government”, the ministry wrote in 2015, in response to online rumours and warnings by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) that the GST might go up after elections.
“There is no basis to these claims, and they are inconsistent with what the Government has recently stated.” Two years later, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong backtracks on this statement, and the Ministry of Finance comes out claiming no U-turn. “The Government has to remain forward-looking,” it says.
The government has thus far not shared with the public the details on the planned tax hike.