Responding to the Government’s statement this evening Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said that any tax reform introduced by this Government in Budget 2015 onwards must start with the abolition of the property tax and the non-introduction of water charges.
Deputy Doherty said these two measures would affect the largest number of tax payers and disproportionately favour low and middle income earners.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Sinn Fein has called for Budget 2015 to be a budget that starts to reverse some of the worst taxes and cuts by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail over the last six years. We want this budget to be less severe in its deficit adjustment and to give something back to make life more affordable for those struggling to make ends meet. This does involve tax cuts.
“We have proposed the abolition of the property tax and shown how it could be paid for. We also oppose the introduction of the water charges and believe next year’s deficit adjustment can and should be made without them.
“Abolition of the property tax would benefit 1.8 million home owners by an average of €278 per annum. It would disproportionately favour low and middle income earners and act as a real boost for those unable to meet mortgage repayments and other bills.
“We have also shown in previous budget submissions how a further 296,000 working people earning between €193 and €337 per week could be taken out of the Universal Social Charge at a cost of €94 million in the first year. This would make a tangible difference to the working poor and should be a priority for any Government examining tax reform.
“The Government’s need to establish a low pay commission is an example of how quickly it has lost touch with ordinary people. There should be no need for a statutory commission or glossy reports for the government to understand the effect that their policies of household and water taxes and increases in stealth taxes has had on the low paid.
“The government, if it had the political will, could deal with this issue by changing direction.
“It won’t be lost on the low paid that, on the day that the leader of the Labour Party attempted to appease them with a commission, Joan Burton’s newly appointed cabinet colleagues have received salary increases in the tens of thousands with one new minister securing an increase in excess of €70,000.”