IT was with a poker face that Michael Noonan announced that his Budget was fair.
Yet even the most cursory appraisal of it would show that he was talking nonsense.
Where is the fairness in inflicting a property tax on those of us who paid through the nose for stamp duty only a few short years ago?
In what universe is it fair to expect a generation of unfortunate home-buyers who scrimped and scraped to pay this tax to once more face the burden of paying yet more tax on properties that are in negative equity?
Minister Noonan seems to think that negative equity is a state of mind, one that only affects those who have to sell in a time of recession. What an astoundingly simplistic reading.
I can’t be the only person who bought a property in the height of the Tiger who has – thanks to the subsequent arrival of a wife and baby daughter – been forced to move to a larger home.
It may be possible to raise a family in a one-bedroom apartment in some of the more innovative developments, but not in one of Liam Carroll’s numerous shoeboxes that litter Dublin.
I would love to sell the apartment, but can’t because I’d end up in debt to the tune of €100,000.
Instead, I have to live with it and pay a few hundred a year in property tax for the foreseeable future – and this for a flat that I’ve already paid more than €20,000 in stamp duty on.
And it’s not like the second tranche of tax I’m forced to pay will be easy to come by. Like so many others, I’m too struggling to make ends meet. I certainly don’t have the disposable income after sixth successive austerity budgets to pump back into the economy and to help it grow.
Instead, I’m left to ponder the actions of another inept government who are squeezing us to death.