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30/07/2021

Tipperary councillor backs LPT charge on basis of work being down by council

Tipperary councillor backs LPT charge on basis on work being down by council

Cllr Seamus Morris: has backed this year's Local Property Tax charge

Independent Cllr Seamus Morris has revealed why he has decided to support this year's Local Property Tax charges.

However, he said that he was supporting the tax this year because he could see how well the money was being used at council level in RRDF and URDF schemes - even though Tipperary County Council had claimed that its allocations to these schemes was causing it financial hardship.

"It is an extra tax on our homeowners, but it is one that is necessary to make up for the lack of central funding, and, to be fair, the work being carried out across Tipperary are worth financing," he said.

The council agreed last Friday to leave the charge unchanged from 2020.

Cllr Morris said that each year, Tipperary County Council started a charade around the LPT based on what he described as "a disingenuous narrative" whereby the Tipperary County Council finished off its annual LPT workshop with a plea that the county was the largest recipient from the equalisation fund.

He said that this created the narrative that Tipperary County Council "should be thankful for the kindness of richer counties", but that narrative couldn't be more "misleading".

Cllr Morris said that in 2014 when the then Fine Gael and Labour Government decided to further erode local government by closing town and borough councils, Tipperary went from nine councils to one and was the hardest hit in the country, losing the general purpose grants  for all nine councils.

"I reckon Tipperary County Council is down at least €20m a year since 2014. The equalisation fund was supposedly set up to bring counties up to their previous funding level," he said.

He stated that each year there was the "charade" of FF and FG lectures as to why people who don't vote for the LPT increase shouldn't get the chance to spend any of the increased LPT.

"This was laughable coming from parties that had stood over the destruction of local government funding (in 1977 FF all but destroyed local government funding by abolishing two of the three local government service charges and the residential property tax) which was replaced by the annual raid on motor tax which was diverted into a Local Government Fund and divvied out from central funds.

"In 2014 FG and Labour put another large stake into the heart of local government by closing town and borough councils and then pilfering the proceeds of motor tax for the failed quango, Irish Water," said Cllr Morris.

He said that local government funding in Ireland was the lowest in the whole of Europe that was the legacy of FF/ FG the Greens and Labour (only 8% of public spending occurs and local government level compared with an EU average of 23%), "so any lectures from those parties on LPT are lamentable".

The Independent councillor pointed out that the Government was carrying out a review in taxation with its Commission on Taxation and Welfare 2021, and he was saying that we, as a state, had to review how we fund local government, and that included a debate on a proper property tax as used in different ways across the world.

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