Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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Property Tax: Let the Councillors decide!

Posted by Jason O on Jul 28, 2009 in Irish Politics

What do we want? Less power! When do we not want it? Now!

What do we want? Less power! When do we not want it? Now!

It looks here like the Commission on Taxation is to propose both property and water taxes. Whilst not liking the idea, I can see the logic. In particular, having seen the way Irish people waste water compared to Australians, it makes sense if only as a means of making us cop on about our child-like approach to resource management.

Having said that, here’s a suggestion: Let the local councillors set the property tax. Let central government cut their grant by the nominal amount the tax would raise, and then let the councillors decide what their constituents really want, lower taxes or more services. On a sneaky note, considering that most councils are now run by FG/Lab majorities, why not just force them to make the decisions? Could be good for a laugh.

Of course, this all assumes that we can get county councillors to actually take the power to set taxes. The fact that Irish politics is populated by large quantities of dossers who want the job (And the money.) but not the responsibility says something about our national psyche. We must be the only democratic nation in the world where elected officials actually protest when they are given powers. Where else but Ireland can you expect to see placards demanding  “Less Power now!” 

Just wait and watch the debate about elected mayors, and how FF will go out of their way to stop mayors being given the golden chalice of Irish local government, the power to overrule the county manager. Why? Because then FF mayors might actually a) have to make decisions (Always unpopular. Much better just to “call” for nice things like “more resources”) and b) might actually make decisions (Which, when it involves FF councillors, tends to lead to tribunals.)

 

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