来年度税・予算 政権公約へのこだわり捨てよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 23, 2009)
Put the economy before manifesto promises
来年度税・予算 政権公約へのこだわり捨てよ(12月23日付・読売社説)

Compilation of the fiscal 2010 budget has entered the homestretch.
 2010年度予算の編成作業が、大詰めを迎えている。

The outline of tax revisions for next fiscal year was approved Tuesday at a Cabinet meeting, and the treatment of child-rearing allowances and an income compensation system for individual farmers has been decided, too.
 国民生活や企業活動に深くかかわる来年度の税制改正大綱が22日に閣議決定され、子ども手当や農家への戸別所得補償など予算の主要項目の扱いも固まった。

However, a serious tax revenue shortfall has cast a shadow over the process. Tax revenues in fiscal 2009 are estimated to be 36.9 trillion yen, over 9 trillion yen less than initially expected. Tax revenues in fiscal 2010 will remain almost the same.
 一連の作業に影を落としたのが深刻な税収不足だ。09年度の税収は、当初の見積もりより9兆円余り少ない36・9兆円となる見込みだ。10年度についても同程度の額にとどまりそうだ。

This situation has made measures to secure tax revenue the most important agenda item in discussing tax revisions. However, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama failed to make any decisions on this matter, preferring to stick to implementation of the Democratic Party of Japan's manifesto pledges made for August's House of Representatives election, which will lead to huge budgets and a drastic reduction of tax revenue.
 このため、税制改正では、いかに税収を確保していくかが重要なテーマになった。だが、鳩山首相は巨額の予算計上や、大幅な税収減につながる政権公約(マニフェスト)の実現にこだわって決断できなかった。

Hatoyama, having gone back and forth, finally decided the outline by accepting the requests of the DPJ submitted by its Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa.
 最後は、小沢幹事長から出された民主党の要望を受け入れる形で大枠を決める迷走ぶりだった。

The prime minister followed the same process in the budget compilation.
 予算編成でも、同じような過程をたどっている。

The government's budget plan for fiscal 2010 is to be decided soon. The prime minister in a few days must come up with a way to make a budget that can pump up the economy and offer reassurance to people with insufficient financial resources.
 10年度予算は、近く政府案が決まる予定だ。乏しい財源で、いかに景気を下支えし、国民生活に安心をもたらす予算を作り上げていくか。鳩山首相は、あと数日で答えを出さねばならない。

Treatment of the provisionally higher tax rate on fossil fuels, including gasoline, symbolizes the confusion afflicting tax revisions. The prime minister initially was determined to abolish the provisional tax rate in April as it was the pillar of his party's election pledges, but he finally decided only to lower the rates of the automobile weight tax.
 税制改正の迷走の象徴が、ガソリン税などの暫定税率だ。鳩山首相は政権公約の目玉として、来年4月の暫定税率廃止に固執したが、最終的には自動車重量税の一部引き下げにとどめた。

 ◆暫定税率維持は当然◆
We think Hatoyama's decision is reasonable. If the provisional tax rate was abolished, central and local governments would lose a total of 2.5 trillion yen in tax revenues, worsening fiscal deficits.
 国と地方で2・5兆円の税収がなくなれば、財政赤字はさらに膨らむ。この判断は当然だろう。

The DPJ had claimed that the provisional tax could be abolished because abundant new financial resources could be created by trimming fat from government spending. But wasn't it apparent from the very beginning that such a claim would end up being pie in the sky?
 暫定税率の廃止などについて民主党は、「歳出の無駄の洗い出しで、財源はいくらでも出てくる」と主張していた。だがそれが空手形に終わるのは、最初から分かりきっていたことではないか。

This shows the collapse of so-called manifesto politics. We have to say that the actions and remarks of Hatoyama, who stuck to the abolition of the provisional tax rate, have ended up deceiving the public.
 マニフェスト政治の破綻(はたん)を示すものだろう。廃止にこだわった首相の言動は、結果的に国民を欺いたと言わざるを得ない。

The prime minister is apparently unaware of his own responsibility, maintaining that his change of policy is in line with public opinion. He must give the public a detailed explanation of why he decided to change the policy.
 首相は、今回の方針転換は「国民の思いに沿ったもの」と述べるなど、責任を自覚していない。転換の経緯を、国民に詳しく説明しなければなるまい。

The government said it would spend a year or so studying the introduction of an environment tax, which was once considered to offset the scrapping of the provisional tax rate on fossil fuels. An environment tax, which would be imposed widely on fossil fuels and others, would become a heavy burden on industries and household budgets if introduced. It should be considered very carefully.
 暫定税率の代わりに導入が検討された環境税については、今後1年程度かけて検討するとした。化石燃料などに幅広く課税する環境税は、産業界や家計に重い負担となる。慎重に扱うべきだ。

===

Child benefit needs rethink

The government likely will set up a special fund worth 2 trillion yen in the next fiscal budget, using such financial resources as the revenue to be generated through the maintenance of the provisionally higher tax rates. The money set aside for this specified-purpose budgetary framework will be used to help create more jobs, reinvigorate regional economies and implement other pump-priming policies.
 政府は、暫定税率の維持で得た税収などで、来年度予算に2兆円の特別枠を設け、雇用対策や地域活性化などに振り向ける方針だ。

The government has good reason to consider giving the economy an additional shot in the arm. It is also essential that the list of purposes for which such budgetary means would be used be narrowed down to a handful of measures that promise to produce an immediate economy-boosting effect.
景気への配慮は妥当であり、使途は景気に即効性がある対策に絞り込むことが肝要だ。

Another focus of the dispute over the fiscal 2010 budget was whether an income limit should be imposed on the eligibility of households to be covered by the child-rearing allowance system. The government has settled the controversy by deciding the scheme will not set such a limit. This means every family with a child or children in the middle school age bracket or younger will be paid 13,000 yen per child monthly.
 もうひとつの焦点だった子ども手当については、所得制限を設けないことで決着した。中学生以下の子どもを持つすべての家庭に、子ども1人につき月1万3000円が支払われる。

 ◆子ども手当は見直せ◆
The children's allowance scheme will be complemented by a plan to exclude households with a child or children aged 15 or under from the list of those entitled to income tax deductions for dependents. The government will also curtail the amount of deductions for dependents aged 16 to 18, with the aim of raising funds for delivering another promise included in the DPJ manifesto--that is, making high school education free by paying tuition fees out of the state coffers.
 代わりに15歳以下の子どもがいる家庭の所得税の扶養控除が廃止される。高校授業料の無償化の財源として、16~18歳を対象にした特定扶養控除も減額される。

The DPJ manifesto states that the amount of child-rearing benefits paid to each household will be doubled, starting in fiscal 2011. This would only increase the amount of the financial means to be required.
 民主党の公約では、子ども手当の支給額は11年度から倍増され、必要な財源はさらに膨らむ。

To secure new financial resources, the government has said it will consider such revenue-enhancing measures as the abolition of income tax deductions for spouses. However, doing so will be certain to antagonize families without children. It is also evident that ending such a tax exemption will hardly do enough to raise necessary financial resources.
 新たな財源を確保するため、政府は、所得税の配偶者控除の廃止などを検討するという。しかし、子どものいない世帯の反発は必至であり、その程度では足りないこともはっきりしている。

With all this in mind, we find it indispensable for the government to reduce the amount of the child-rearing allowance and impose an income limit on families eligible for such benefits. The government should seriously consider this idea.
 やはり支給額の削減や所得制限の導入などが欠かせない。今後、真剣に検討すべきだ。

===

Sales tax hike inevitable

The government has also decided to raise the tobacco tax rate by a large margin.
 たばこ税の大幅引き上げも決まった。

Leading brands of cigarettes will be retailed at 400 yen a pack starting from next October. The government hopes the hike will boost tax revenues by more than 120 billion yen.
代表的な銘柄の小売価格は来年10月から1箱400円になり、政府は1200億円の税収増を期待している。

The Hatoyama Cabinet had initially regarded this round of tax reforms as a prime opportunity to show results brought about by the change of government.
 鳩山内閣は当初、今回の税制改正を、政権交代の成果を示すチャンスととらえていた。

The government's revamped Tax Commission has started work to reform the nation's taxation system on the principle that discussions on it be conducted publicly. It aimed to abolish or drastically reduce special taxation measures for particular industries or groups and carry out a sweeping review of income tax deductions.
 改正作業は、一新された政府税制調査会が原則公開のもとで行うとし、租税特別措置(租特)の大胆な廃止・縮減や所得控除の抜本見直しを掲げてスタートした。

The discussions, however, stalled after details of reform plans were considered. The reviews of special taxation measures and income tax deductions proceeded at a snail's pace.
 ところが、各論に入ると議論は難航し、租特や所得控除の見直しはなかなか進まなかった。

 ◆消費税で安定財源を◆
The biggest problem lay with the government's reluctance to begin work to find a stable financial resource to pay for swelling social security costs.
 最大の問題は、社会保障費の財源確保に向けた手だてに踏み込まなかったことだ。

To pay for the social security costs, which balloon by about 1 trillion yen every year, the government needs a stable financial resource. It is clear now that the consumption tax is the only source of revenue that can cover such a huge cost.
 毎年1兆円規模で増え続ける社会保障費を賄うには、安定した財源が必要で、それには消費税しかないことは明白である。

Many European nations have already introduced measures to support child rearing--equivalent to Japan's proposed child-rearing allowance--without setting income ceilings on the beneficiaries. Such measures are affordable as the rates of value-added taxes in these countries are all above 10 percent.
 欧州各国は、子ども手当に相当する子育て支援策を導入済みで、所得制限は設けていない。だが、各国の付加価値税(消費税)の税率は2けたを超えている。

Shying away from raising the consumption tax can be said to be the biggest obstacle for realizing important policies. The Hatoyama Cabinet must swiftly start discussing a hike in the consumption tax so it can be raised immediately after the nation's economy recovers.
 消費税率の引き上げを封印していることこそ、政策実現の最大の障害といえよう。鳩山内閣は景気回復後、直ちに引き上げられるよう、議論を急ぐべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 23, 2009)
(2009年12月23日01時47分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-12-23 06:33 | 英字新聞

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