Property Tax Faces Local Opposition

The No to Property Tax Campaign (NPTC) and several other local residential groups are aligning in opposition to the new local property tax.

NPTC has held a number of meetings over the past year opposed to the government’s plans to introduce a property tax. Recently, the campaign has aligned itself with BADRA -Bath Avenue and District Resident’s Association, and local advocacy groups from St. Andrews Resource Centre on Pearse Street creating a local political movement that is determined to make their voices heard.

“We oppose the property tax on the grounds that it is a unjust tax. We think people are being unfairly taxed while others are being let off the hook,” says Annette Mooney an organiser of the NPTC and a member of the United Left Alliance (ULA). She stresses that ultimately the introduction of a property tax is more about paying off bank debts than local services- an argument regularly voiced by those opposed to the tax.

The NPTC have held a number of meetings in the past few months leading up to the official introduction of the new tax, one of which was attended by Thomas Pringle an Independent TD from Donegal South West. The campaign also held a national day of local protest in the Ringsend Library in March.

“The campaign is in every area, and basically we need people to come onboard and join us. In the Fine Gael manifesto it said it will not impose a property tax. We were lied to by the government,” says Mooney.

Dermot Lacey of the Labour Party strongly rejects this accusation and has suggested the Property Tax will provide financial help to local government. “Following a successful meeting between Labour councillors and the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Labour councillors welcome the fact that the government has listened and agreed our suggestion that a minimum of 80% collected from the Property Tax must be retained in the area in which they are collected. While defending the principle of a Property Tax to fund local government services, the Labour Group is also demanding that the government use the period between now and Budget 2014 to further refine the legislation to ensure that some account is taken of the higher property values in Dublin, that an ability to pay element is included and that account is made for the enormous sums paid on Stamp Duty in the Dublin area during the property boom,” he said.

Recently Dublin Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the new tax, suggesting it will provide for investment in local services and better local government accountability and efficiency.

“Business has always had an interest in good, efficient local government as they pay directly for it from commercial rates. Homeowners should see this move as a democratic gain as their tax will now be linked to local services,” said Gina Quin Chief Executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

The Local Property Tax (LPT), as it is officially known, will come into effect from July 1st 2013 and be administered by the Revenue Commissioners.

By Liam Cahill