15% Reduction in Local Property Tax

Last night on Dublin City Council myself and my Independent colleagues voted to reduce the Local Property Tax by 15%, the maximum allowed. The LPT is a regressive tax, it may be less regressive than the Water Tax for example, but it is still regressive. Income equality or wealth distribution should be achieved by progressive taxation, where those who can afford to pay contribute more. The mandate I have from my community is to abolish this unfair property tax but I used the opportunity last night to minimise the amount of regressive property tax we have to pay.

The hypocrisy of the Labour Party was on display again when they proposed limiting the decrease to 7.5% to fund services such as footpath and verge cleaning. These are core council services which have been slashed due to Government cuts to the council budget sanctioned by the Labour Party. And on South Dublin County Council the Labour Party voted for the full 15% reduction!

The LPT was sold to people as a new source of funding to pay for increased and better local services. They weren’t told that whatever income was received by Local Authorities from the LPT a similar amount would be taken back by central Government by decreasing the Local Government Fund resulting in very little overall gain. And remember, the majority of the LPT collected in the past has basically gone to pay the interest on the debts caused by a bank bailout none of us were consulted on.

Imposing a further property tax burden on hard pressed families will only result in even more poverty. As Independent Councillor Paul Hand said “in areas some of us represent, the €40 to €70 reduction could pay for an extra pair of shoes for school or a warm coat for winter for a child”.