Tuesday 28 March 2017

Local authority votes against reducing Local Property Tax rates for 2017

Cork County Hall
Cork County Hall
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

ONE of Ireland’s largest local authorities has opted not to reduce its Local Property Tax (LPT) rate for 2017 amid concerns over the funding shortfall it would create.

Cork Co Council rejected proposals by both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to cut the base rate of LPT.

The LPT rate will now remain unchanged next year having previously been reduced between 2015/2016 by 5pc.

In 2014, Cork Co Council slashed its rate of LPT by 10pc.

The savings offered by a 10pc LPT rate cut range from €40 for those paying LPT in the €250,000 bracket down to a €9 per year saving for those in the €100,000 segment.

Fine Gael and independent members of Cork Co Council rejected calls for the tax to be cut amid concerns from officials over how the funding shortfall would be made up in next year’s budget.

Fianna Fáil had proposed cutting LPT next year  y 5pc. Sinn Féin had sought a higher LPT reduction of 15pc.

The latter would have involved an estimated revenue loss of some €6m.

Both motions were rejected by clear council votes.

A Fine Gael motion for no reduction to be made in the LPT chargeable rate was passed on a vote of 40 to 10.

Councillor Des O’Grady of Sinn Féin said it was very disappointing for all county householders.

“We proposed the 15pc cut in the LPT which would have meant that €6m would have gone back into the local economy,” he said.

“It would have given a little bit of relief to hard-pressed families which have suffered so much austerity over recent years.”

“They would have got something back after years of being pushed to the ropes to pay taxes.”

However, Fine Gael’s council leader, Councillor Kevin Murphy, said the decision to maintain the status quo was a victory for common sense and

prudent management of council resources.

“We believe the actual savings to householders by a cut in the rate would be negligible compared to the benefits that would accrue if the council was able to collect the full LPT,” he said.

“The reality is that we will see these benefits locally to our constituents.”

Council officials had warned that a reduction of between €2m and €6m in the amount of LPT gathered would have had significant budgetary consequences.

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