Take pride in paying taxes

I second the call by Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon for Singaporeans to be willing to pay more taxes (Willingness to pay taxes key to dynamic and inclusive economy: MAS chief Ravi Menon; ST Online, Jan 22).

In the last few years, my family and I have benefited from visits to numerous parks and public pools.

It has made me acutely aware and more appreciative of what the Government has done to make Singapore a highly liveable place.

We need the Government to continue delivering such benefits to Singaporeans, and that requires support from Singaporeans through taxes.

Those who pay more taxes should feel proud to do so. It is a privilege to contribute to nation building and to the building of a highly liveable environment.

We will all get old one day. We must recognise that we are ultimately the beneficiaries of greater government spending to cater to an ageing population and create a stable and inclusive society.

That said, I am hoping that the Government will not raise goods and services tax (GST), as it is regressive in nature and will hurt the lower-income households more.

Ideally, we should increase the progressivity of our tax structure as well as consider luxury taxes.

I also hope the Government will step up efforts to trim bureaucracy, and in so doing, further trim spending.

Can we have a high quality but also budget government? A "value for money" government?

Key priorities will need to be determined, and non-critical functions and regulations should be aggressively dispensed with.

This must be an exercise that the Government undertakes seriously. Conscious and determined efforts backed by strong political will are needed.

An ageing Singapore will need an even fitter Government, not a bloated one.

Kelvin Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2018, with the headline 'Take pride in paying taxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe