Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has stated that Minister Phil Hogan must not impede the right of local authorities to reduce the property tax by 15% when setting regulations to be followed by councils for varying the rate of the charge.
Speaking for Leinster House this evening Deputy Doherty said:
“Minister Hogan, in response to a Parliamentary Question I submitted, has stated that he will set regulations in the coming weeks that will set out the process for local authorities who decide to vary their rate of local property tax. I welcome this in the hope that these regulations will bring much needed clarity as to the technical steps that must be undertaken in order to change the rate.
“However, what I would not like to see happen is the Minister using the Act to set regulations that are so inflexible and bureaucratic that he effectively impedes the right of local councils to change their local property tax bases rates. This would be seen as an intensification of the Minister’s attack of local democracy and it would also constitute a direct contradiction of the autonomy given to local authorities in this area – this is a principle clearly expressed in the act.
“Local authorities throughout the state are currently being given a clear choice as Sinn Féin councillors introduce motions to reduce the rate of local property by 15% in an effort to reduce the financial burden placed on hard pressed families by this Government. The Minister must not stand in the way of councils that vote to support the alternative presented by Sinn Féin.
“The Minister Hogan must set regulations and layout a process that will help rather than hinder local authorities in implementing the democratic decisions they make regarding their local property rates.”