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Connaughton, Paul J.

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Deputy Paul J. Connaughton

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Paul J. Connaughton

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Snippet Contents:

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on this Bill. I agree with much of what Deputy Dara Murphy said in his contribution. When one considers the level of the deficit we faced when we came into Government, there were no easy choices. This certainly is not a popular tax, as has been stated. There is no point in saying otherwise. However, the decision was either to take this option or to increase income tax. As a commitment was given not to increase income tax, this is the option that had to be taken.
A number of people have approached me about the property tax over the last number of months. Instead of looking at what happened in the past, they are looking at what will happen in the future. People tell me that if they are going to pay a property tax that will go to their local authority, they want to see how it will be spent. Accountability in that regard will be very important. At present, local authorities simply cannot provide all the services they are required to provide. We must devise a transparent taxation system whereby we can point out to people where their taxes are being spent. The Government was correct to stay away from increasing income tax in so far as it could.
There is one matter among the concerns people have raised with me which we could examine in the next budget and, perhaps, tweak the system and make it fairer. I have been contacted by a number of people in estates in County Galway who are paying management fees. There is concern about that. Management companies have different levels of fee and some provide different services to the people who pay them. This is causing a great deal of anger, confusion and upset. People in those estates say they are getting as much as they can from the local authority. Perhaps we could work out a deal with them and their management companies to make it fair for them as well, because many of those people feel left out in this regard at present.