Warning of household tax boycott
Campaigners have warned of deepening boycotts against tax on family homes as Budget 2013 heralded the much-anticipated new 0.18% property tax rate.
Despite assurances that it will not rise over the next three years, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the level of opposition will soar.
"Fifty per cent of homeowners continue to boycott household tax, that will be intensified as this new burden comes in. There will be massive resistance," he said.
The scheme will cost average homeowners between 250-300 euro a year with a higher mansion tax rate of 0.25% for homes worth a million euro-plus.
Gregor Kerr, spokesman for the Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes (CAHWT), said the tax was a declaration of war on people.
"Campaign members across the country will respond to this provocation by re-doubling and intensifying both the boycott of the property tax and protests against it and against the austerity agenda," he said.
Latest figures from the Local Government Management Agency put half a million homeowners in the boycott bracket. Some 1.1 million homes have been registered to pay the Household Charge as it stands, bringing in 111 million euro.
The CAHWT declared the mansion tax a diversionary tactic and unacceptable. "A real wealth tax would have imposed a levy on the massive wealth owned by the richest 36,000 people who between them own approximately 130 billion euro," Mr Kerr said.
Vincent P Martin, lawyer and founder of the New Beginning group which campaigns for debt settlement, said: "This new tax will further strangle an already squeezed Middle Ireland, ordinary people who are in deep negative equity, extreme mortgage distress, and who simply cannot pay.
"The property tax is not an alternative to increased income tax, it is just a means of extracting more money from people who cannot afford it."