Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD opens Property Tax, Wealth Tax & Water Charges section of Sinn Fein of Ard Fheis 2013
A chairde, as we debate here tonight, there are families the length and breadth of this state who have received their family home tax letters.
Another demand on them from this government who has no understanding of the difficulties facing many ordinary families.
Few families have been untouched by this crisis, whether by emigration, unmanageable mortgages, bills they cannot meet or job losses. However, the 26 county government clearly thinks families have more to give.
So they have hit them with a family home tax, on top of child benefit cuts, increased motor charges, increased carbon tax, increased excise duty, increased prescription charges the list is endless and just for good measure they have promised them a tax on the water they drink.
This all comes on top of five years of austerity amounting to €28 billion worth of cuts and taxes, the majority of which have fallen on the shoulders of the ordinary taxpayers of Ireland.
It is morally unjust Enda Kenny told us and unfair to tax a person's home, and by so doing grind him into the ground. It reminds me of a vampire tax he said in that it drives a stake through the heart of home ownership, through enthusiasm and initiative, and sucks the life blood of people who want to own their own home and better their position.
It is very rare theses days that I agree with Enda Kenny however when he made that statement in the Dáil in the mid nineties I agree with every word he uttered.
At that time we didn’t have a mortgage crisis or a personal debt crisis an unemployment crisis all further reason why he should hold to his convictions
Last week I was informed of one household that had received the family home tax bill, an elderly couple, whose only income is the state pension.
They own a home. They built it in the 50s. They have never been wealthy people. The husband worked in a small shop. The woman worked part time as a cleaner, full time as a mother.
They were under the illusion that this tax, because their income is so low, would not apply to them.
Instead, three weeks ago they got the bill in the door for €292. they were shocked, But then they were informed that that was just for 6 months.
Their full year bill is €585.
There are many reasons the family home tax is so unfair. The fact that it is not linked to ability to pay is just one of them.
The fact that it hits everyone, with so few exceptions is another.
The fact that the thousands of euro of stamp duty paid by many young families just a few years ago, is not discounted, is another.
There are over 180,000 households in mortgage distress. They live in fear of that home being repossessed, but the Government still thinks they have the means to pay a tax on it.
The Family Home tax was put this tax on the table by fianna Fail. But when given the opportunity to take it off, Fine Gael and Labour chose not to.
Next week Sinn Féin will introduce in the Dáil our legislation to scrap the family home tax and will force a debate and vote on this matter we will ask the public to support our campaign to axe this tax. We are giving from this Ard Fheis a clear commitment to the people that if elected to government that we will abolish the Family home tax.
There are alternatives to increase our tax take.
We provided the government with a costed budget alternative last year that outlined many of them.
A wealth tax is one
Across Europe countries struggling to reduce deficits and raise revenue for investment in public services and job creation are turning to wealth taxes.
France, Norway, Finland and Iceland are just some of the countries that successfully operate wealth taxes. In France the socialist Government has recently strengthened its existing wealth tax legislation. In Spain the Conservative government has reintroduced its wealth tax.
Sinn Féin has consistently argued for the introduction of a wealth tax. We believe that a 1% tax on net assets in excess of €1 million has the potential to yield up to €800 million.
While exempting business assets, working farms, investments or shares in private companies
Our proposals if implemented would play a positive and progressive role not only in reforming our broken tax system but in the social and economic recovery of the state.
I urge everyone to support these motions opposing the property tax tonight and continue to lead the campaign on opposition to this unfair tax.