I was at a social event recently where I met a veteran senator who was railing against the unfairness of the proposed property tax. I was ready to dismiss him as yet another populist panderer when he shocked me by suggesting, quite unprompted, an alternative.
He suggested we just be honest about it and raise income tax. After all, it’s based on ability to pay, is progressive, and would not require a new collection system to be created.
There is the issue of the fact that both FG and Labour pledged not to raise income tax in the election, but there is a way around that too. Why not devise the proprty tax, and the amount it will raise, translate it into an income tax rise and put both to the people in a referendum, with a pledge that the Dail will enact whichever the people endorse?
After all, surely the people can absolve the government of an election pledge?