Time for a citizens’ assembly on property tax

 

Sir, – I would like to offer some free consultancy advice to Dublin City Council management and elected councillors.

In preparation for budget 2021, please facilitate a Dublin city citizens’ assembly on property tax. I believe if they present facts and figures to 100 citizens about why local government needs increased funding then they would get an informed and considered response from the assembly.

This suggestion is made in the context that:

1. The current consultation process is flawed. Dublin City Council held a public consultation phase on Local Property Tax (LPT) from August 1st to 30th this year. The response rate was 0.005 per cent with 78 per cent in favour of reducing the LPT. Firstly the consultation was held in peak holiday period, secondly the survey was not presented in plain English and finally of course when you ask most people to pay more or less for something, most people are going to go say, pay less!

2. The majority of elected representatives are influenced by potential fallout from LPT decisions. Thirty-four elected councillors voted to decrease the local property tax by 15 per cent, leaving our council with a €12 million shortfall in funding. If they had even reduced the property tax by 5 per cent instead of 15 per cent then we would have an extra €8 million for local services.

However, here we are with councillors increasing on-street parking charges and the East Link toll, so we are paying more – just in a different guise.

Our city and our country needs to have a serious discussion about taxes and how are we going to pay for the type of public services we say we want. In the 2020 general election I will be looking at what each political party is saying about reforming tax expenditures and giving my vote to a party that has vision and courage. – Yours, etc,

HELEN RYAN,

Ringsend, Dublin 4.