Chamber Criticises ‘Short-Sighted’ Property Tax Decision

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By Chamber Press Office, 24 September 2019

Dublin Chamber has expressed disappointment at the decision by Dublin City’s elected Councillors to once again reduce Local Property Tax by 15%.
 
The Chamber, which had urged Councillors to scale back the reduction to 10% to raise an additional €4m per annum to be spent in the city, described the move as “short-sighted” at a time when Dublin City Council is struggling to find money to pay for vital services in the city.
 
Councillors have the power to increase or reduce the rate charged in their area by up to 15% each year. Since 2014, Councillors in Dublin city have voted to apply the maximum reduction.
 
The Chamber said the new Council had failed the first test of its commitment to the Dublin City Agreement by failing to fund improvements in key areas such as cycling infrastructure.
 
According to Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: “Councillors may think they’re doing their constituents a favour by reducing Local Property Tax by 15%, but what it means in reality is that Dubliners now face missing out on key services and improvements to their quality of life. The decision goes against the advice of City Manager Owen Keegan, who has stressed that the 15% reduction is putting pressure on the Council’s finances. Dublin is growing all the time, with more people working and living in the city and availing of services and amenities.”
 
The Chamber has expressed strong concern that businesses in the city will now be left to pick up the bill in the form of yet more hikes in commercial rates.
 
Ms Burke said: “About €4 in every €10 of Council funding already comes from businesses. Commercial rates paid by the business community accounted for over a third (37%) of revenue in the Dublin City Council area last year. Any further increase would come as yet another blow for businesses already operating on tight margins. Over the past 12 months, businesses in the city have already faced increases in VAT, commercial rates. For many firms, utilities and insurance costs are also on the rise. Businesses cannot continually be seen as a cash cow. While Property Tax has been cut consistently over recent years, the relief has never been extended to businesses. There is a strong perception in the business community that this owes more to electoral concerns than to mature and balanced decision-making.

“We all want better public services in Dublin, but it shouldn’t be left to the businesses to pick up the bill. All the business community wants is to see fairness in how monies are collected. Sadly we’re not seeing that at the moment and any increase in commercial rates would increase this discrepancy,” said Ms Burke.