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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 Seán Crowe

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Snippet Contents:

Many people, not just Sinn Féin Deputies or supporters, believe this tax is regressive, unfair and wrong and that it will create genuine hardship among people in the community. We know this crippling tax was the brainchild of the Fianna Fáil-Green Administration which crashed our economy, but this Government has passionately advocated in favour of this new tax and determinedly pushed ahead with its implementation. This tax is being pushed even though it makes no economic sense and hurts those on low incomes. There is common agreement that one in four mortgage holders are in mortgage distress and many others are stuck in homes whose value has dropped and on which they all paid large sums in stamp duty to the State and this Government wants more.
Our domestic economy is in stagnation. This tax will reduce disposable incomes and have a negative effect on consumer spending and, in turn, jobs. Many people will pay this tax, have paid this tax, but not because they agree with it. They have no choice. Revenue now has the power to raid pensions, social welfare payments and PAYE workers' incomes directly. That is a fact. How are individuals and families going to pay this tax? We know that elderly people are already going to bed earlier to reduce bills, families are skipping a meal or buying cheap cuts or no meat or fish on certain days, turning the heating on later or not turning it on at all. If this tax is implemented families will spend less on their weekly shopping because they have less. That is the concern I have.
The wealthy can afford to give more but we know from Government budgets that this is unlikely to happen. The wealthy are destined for more rewards. We hear Ministers on radio saying that they must reward the entrepreneurs and the wealthy but at the same time they are cutting the means of people who are at the end of their tether because they have no more money. Intimidated people will be forced to skip other bills because of this tax. The organisations that deal with people in these situations believe this new tax will lead to a deepening of fuel and child poverty. In 2012 a total of 20,000 people had their gas and electricity cut off because they could not pay. This figure will rapidly increase if this tax is pursued. We believe that there are alternatives to this tax.