Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen TD, says the people of Ireland have been hoodwinked by the Government in relation to the Local Property Tax (LPT) as most councils in the country will not be better off following its implementation.
Deputy Cowen was reacting to today’s announcement by the Government regarding funding to local authorities for next year arising from property tax revenues.
He commented: “The measures announced today for the redistribution of revenue from the Local Property Tax show the public have been hoodwinked by the Government into paying for a tax that will not benefit their local communities in any meaningful way. When the LPT was brought in last year, families were promised that the tax they paid would go towards local services and amenities and benefit communities across the country. Sadly, the reality is a lot different.
“The vast majority of local councils will not be better off next year compared to before the LPT was introduced. The people were again misled by the Fine Gael and Labour Government into thinking their local parks, roads and playgrounds would reap the benefits of the tax.
“Under the legislation, local councils have the option of reducing or increasing the LPT rate by 15% from next year. It is totally hypocritical of the government to now say that most local authorities have to fund any reduction in the LPT themselves. This may mean that other services have to be reduced in order to fund any cut in LPT, something which the Government deliberately failed to disclose when the regulations were initially published. It was a deeply cynical move and one that families throughout the country will not forget.
“It is also incredibly cynical to publish these details during the first week in September. As the Minister knows, legislation provides that councils must inform the Revenue Commissioners by 30 September so any changes to the LPT can be enacted for 2015. By law, councils must have gone through public consultation of one month, which will not be possible. With many councils not due to sit again until this week or next it leaves no time for adequate consultation and negotiation.
“I had called for Minister Alan Kelly to make this a priority and publish the details before the summer recess but like his Fine Gael predecessor, he seems happy to have misled taxpayers into thinking the LPT would go towards local services and amenities.”