Procreation tax benefits 166x more than childcare help?

169 childcare centres cut fees

I refer to the article “169 childcare centres run by 23 partner operators to cut fees from 2016” (Straits Times, Oct 19).

It states that “About $250 million over five years has been set aside by the Government for the partner operator and anchor operator schemes.”

Only spend $50m a year on childcare?

Does this mean that the average spending a year to help parents pay for childcare is only about $50 million a year ($250 million divided by 5 years)?

$43 monthly per child?

As there are 98,021 enrolled childcare places – does it mean that the average spending per child per month may only be about $43 ($50 million divided by 98,021 childcare places divided by 12 months)?

Of course, the lower-income get relatively more compared to middle-income families.

80% increase fees?

As to “These operators run 169 childcare centres which offer 16,500 places in total” – does it mean that perhaps as many as about 80 per cent (16,500 divided by 120,546 total places) of childcare centres/childcare places may have increased fees since both the anchor operators as well as some other operators have announced fee increases, abeit that the anchor operators are giving a temporary fee rebate?

Fees increased 31% last 5 years?

“The industry median (fees) now is $907, up from $690 five years ago” – means that the increase was 31.4 per cent or 5.6 per cent per annum. In this connection, did childcare subsidies increase in tandem with the fee increases?

$8.3b procreation tax benefits vs $50m childcare assistance spending? 

In contrast, according to the article “More than S$8.3b disbursed in tax rebates to encourage procreation” (Channel NewsAsia, Jan 20, 2013) – “The government last year gave out more than S$8.3 billion in tax rebates and reliefs aimed at encouraging procreation in the Year of Assessment 2012.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore also told Channel NewsAsia that more than 850,000 working mums and dads enjoyed such tax breaks in 2012.”

Tax benefits more than 166 times childcare assistance spending?

So, does it mean that the above indicates that the procreation tax benefits may be about 166 times ($8.3 billion divided by $50 million) more than the annual childcare spending of $50 million now?

Lower-income don’t get tax benefits?

What this means is that those who do not earn enough to pay any or very little income tax, do not benefit from the procreation tax benefits.

For the rich, the higher the income and tax rate, the greater the procreation tax benefits.

Procreation incentives favour the higher-income?

There are too many procreation incentives that discriminate against lower-income Singaporeans, like the parenthood tax rebate, working mother’s child relief and qualifying child relief.

How many don’t get tax benefits?

As to “more than 850,000 working mums and dads enjoyed such tax breaks in 2012″, how many working mums and dads did not enjoy any or very little tax breaks?

In this connection, according to the Inland Authority of Singapore’s (IRAS) Tax Calculator, Singaporeans earning less than $3,000 a month generally do not have to pay any income tax, after the deductions of their employee CPF contribution and personal reliefs.

Same benefits regardless of income?

Why not just give the same benefits to parents, regardless of their income? After all, I understand that about 60 per cent of Singaporeans do not or hardly pay any income tax.

Lower-income procreate more?

The notion that giving more financial incentives to the higher income and educated may be “statistically” flawed. Statistics have always indicated that the lower-income and lower-educated are the ones who tend to procreate more.

Rich are motivated by money to procreate?

If you are a lower-income family, the benefits may make a world of difference. But, if you are highly paid, how much more motivation is there for you to procreate by dangling more financial incentives?

Meritocracy?

How can the principles and ideals of meritocracy be truly procreated, when our procreation incentives may be so lob-sided that they pay out about 166 times more for procreation tax benefits vis-a-vis childcare assistance spending?

Less tax benefits, more childcare benefits?

Just imagine how much more parents may be truly helped if some of the procreation tax benefits are channeled to childcare assistance instead?

Reciprocate trust with more transparency?

Since the people have given their trust and mandate – shouldn’t we reciprocate by being more transparent?

We should also spend more to help Singaporeans.

Leong Sze Hian

 

About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.