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12/18/2012 12:00:00 AM


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Wallace, Mick

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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787

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3

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Senator


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Deputy Mick Wallace

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Deputy Mick Wallace

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Mick Wallace

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Snippet Contents:

I also support the amendment and many others that we will not have an opportunity to address. I do not accept it is a good idea to introduce a property tax. A property tax seems like a good idea in normal times but these are not normal times. The conditions are too poor at present. Aside from mortgage problems, negative equity is a factor and, if people are realistic, they do not own the properties. The banks own the properties and people will pay tax on them as well as arrears if they want to remain in them.
Crazy amounts of stamp duty were paid. We say that everyone in Europe pays house tax but they did not pay stamp duty on primary residences. It is unheard of in Europe. If one purchased a house in 2000 and paid €200,000, stamp duty at 6% amounts to €12,000 and, over the course of a 25-year mortgage, it becomes €25,000. This amounts to €1,000 a year and it is not as if people are not paying house tax if they are paying €1,000 a year through the mortgage.
There is a notion that the local authorities will pay the tax on social housing but the local authorities are all broke. How will they get the money? They will get money from the clients and push it onto clients. Likewise, many people purchased houses under affordable housing schemes in the past ten or 12 years. It seemed a good idea at the time because it did not seem quite so expensive. However, repayments on affordable housing have become unaffordable. I sold properties to people who purchased them under Part V through the council. They paid between €220,000 and €240,000 for two-bedroom apartments. They seemed like a bargain at the time because the full price was much more. The families qualified for the scheme because they could not afford the full price. The figure they paid became insurmountable and they will be asked to pay property tax as well.
Other speakers mentioned pyrite. Aside from properties identified as being affected by pyrite, the State has an obligation to ascertain whether a property is affected by pyrite. Many people are living in limbo, wondering whether they have pyrite, and the State has an obligation to test the houses and give them a clean bill of health or deal with the problem if it exists. The problem is not of the making of the person who bought the property.
With regard to deferrals, the Minister makes the point that it is not a massive amount over a long period of time. For many people in Ireland, the notion that they will die and have debts hanging over the house is a major issue. It may not be a large amount for some but it is for others. The concept of home and owning one's property is stronger in Ireland than in any country in Europe I have been to. There is no point in going into the reasons for it now. We have a different feeling about property, which we want to own and perceive to be ours, even if the bank has the biggest claim to it. I do not want to talk all night. I find it ridiculous that so much time can be taken up for each amendment.
The powers being given to the Revenue Commissioners are monumental. This is the most draconian legislation that has been introduced in the House because of these new powers. It represents a serious level of disconnect between how Members feel about its implementation and how ordinary people feel about it. I have often mentioned that it was a shock to come in here after spending most of my life in the real world. I find the House a bubble and there is a serious disconnect from people. I am not giving out about the Revenue Commissioners, but giving the Revenue Commissioners the power to do what it will do in the collection of this property tax is completely new and very harsh. It represents a serious disconnect.