Despite economic setbacks that threaten from the Brexit and United States president Donald Trump’s trade wars, this is a logical time to give “something back” to the Dutch, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said about the budget and the government’s plans for next year, NU.nl reports.
“As a society we together had to cross the desert, had to bend 51 billion euros and have been burdened. So it is only logical that you give something back to society, because we all went through it”, Rutte said. King Willem-Alexander also said that everyone should benefit from the economically favorable times in his Budget Day speech.
The revision of the tax system that will be implemented next year, if parliament approves, should ensure that the Dutch people have more spending money through tax deductions. Rutte also hopes that more companies will follow a trend he noticed – not only government wages are increasing, but also those in the private sector. “That also fits, because companies now make big profits. There is also a shortage on the labor market, which also leads to higher wages”, he said.
Due to the open nature of the Dutch economy, international instability can ultimately impact the positive economic figures, Rutte warned. “The world around us is unstable. I am positive about the Netherlands, but I have concerns about our environment”, the Prime Minister said.
It is therefore crucial that the government not spend money irresponsibly, and they didn’t in this budget. “We are one of the few countries in Europe with a budget surplus. Our government debt falls below 50 percent, we are even better than Germany there. I think we budgeted very prudently.”
Rutte also addressed criticism that the Rutte III government hasn’t achieved much in the past year. He points to the gas production in Groningen. “After the conclusion of the coalition agreement, it turned out that the reduction of gas production can happen much faster.” The government is also working on reforming the labor market, climate measures and a new pension system. That takes time, Rutte said. “These are not topics that you can press through as a government. It takes a while before you can book results.”
A number of the Rutte III government’s plans still need to pass trough the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. The government currently has a small majority in the Senate, but trends in the polls show that the coalition must take into account that this majority can be lost, according to the newspaper.
The fact that the government’s popularity is decreasing according to the polls, may be related to the controversial abolition of the dividend tax, Rutte said. But he doesn’t intend to scrap this proposal. “The dividend tax will undoubtedly contribute to the reduced popularity of this cabinet. But abandoning the abolition, which will cause companies to leave but our popularity to increase, would lead everyone to say: government, you did not do your job because you wanted to be popular. Then I won’t be able to look at myself in the mirror.”