Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West, Robert Dowds, has said that Finance Minister Michael Noonan should change the local property tax law by giving local councils the power to vary the rate in their area by up to 25% from the national rate.
“While I support a property tax in principle, the local property tax as it stands is flawed because it places far too much of a burden on urban homeowners. There is a simple solution to this problem, which is to give councils the power to vary the local property tax rate in their area by 25% from the national rate, rather than by 15% as it currently stands. If councils could vary the tax rate a bit more, it would mean that Dublin councils could lower the burden on homeowners, who as it stands are going to be paying an unfair amount of this tax.
“In the weeks before the Budget, along with several other Labour TDs, I met with several ministers, including Michael Noonan, and we put it to them that above all else, that this tax must be fair. As it stands, I think it needs to be looked at again. Someone in Clondalkin or Lucan will be paying a multiple in tax of what people in Donegal or Mayo will be paying, and yet when the rural councils need funding to provide basic services, it is certain that funding will end up coming from urban homeowners’ pockets.
“If this is to be a local property tax, then the vast majority of the funding which is raised locally must stay locally to provide services for local people. Otherwise the Property Tax will not be in keeping with its title, which is the Local Property Tax.
“Property taxes exist in almost every other developed country on earth, and they are useful in terms of providing a steady source of income for Local Government. However, fairness is a basic principle of all taxation, and the way this tax is being done needs to be looked at again to ease the burden on urban homeowners, and particularly Dublin homeowners.”