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Monday 1 September 2014

Property tax will rise up and bite us - Fine Gael TD

John Drennan Political Editor

Published 06/07/2014 | 02:30

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Political unrest within the Coalition over the long-term consequences of the property tax has spread to Fine Gael.

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A major row accelerated last week between Fine Gael and Labour over the flexibility councils should have to reduce their property tax.

However, the Taoiseach was also directly challenged at the Fine Gael party meeting by Michelle Mulherin, over current plans to carry out a valuation of all properties in 2016.

Responding to concerns that the escalating price of housing could see property taxes double or treble, Ms Mulherin instead proposed that future increases should be linked to the rate of inflation.

Mr Kenny's Mayo colleague also warned the Taoiseach that ''many struggling coping class families are already fraught with concern over the fiscal consequences of this''.

This, she said, was ''particularly the case where families on incomes that were static or falling lived in areas where property values were rising swiftly''.

The Mayo TD issued a sharp warning to the Taoiseach that if he failed to resolve these fears, ''property tax will rise and bite us in the next elections''.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, one FG source said: ''There is a lot of support for this idea but everyone was very quiet in the room on Wednesday. Enda wasn't at all happy and no one is daring to cheek the Taoiseach by speaking honestly to him until all the ministerial goodies are handed out."

They added: ''We are storing up serious political trouble for ourselves on property; this could be worse than medical cards'."

Ms Mulherin also stuck to her guns, warning that: "There is a serious problem with this tax going forward, there is going to be great inequity with a system which is as fundamentally flawed as this."

She noted: "The people who vote for us are law abiding and willing to pay, but they are frightened out of their wits by the uncertainty surrounding future property tax bills."

The Fine Gael TD added: "At least with other taxes there is finality and some degree of certainty, this is not the case with property taxation based on house values."

If we at least use inflation as a basis for property tax increases, the Mayo TD said, ''stressed coping class families will know what to expect''.

Sunday Independent

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