A LOCAL councillor has said that she will push South Dublin County Council (SDCC) to cut the local property tax by 15% in 2015.
Under the Property Tax law, each county council has the power to vary the tax in their area by plus or minus 15% from the beginning of 2015, and Labour councillor Breda Bonner has publicly declared that she will put pressure on the council to take advantage of that legislation.
With the local elections still a year away, Cllr Bonner this week told The Gazette that, should she be re-elected, she will ask the council to cut the tax.
Cllr Bonner is determined that “hard-pressed homeowners in [South Dublin] be given relief with a maximum reduction in the property tax”.
She said that although the tax is now a reality, more must be done to protect families who are struggling to pay.
“Nobody likes this tax, but after Fianna Fail signed us up to it in 2010, there was simply no getting out of it.
“I am glad that the Government is giving councils the power to vary the property tax rate by 15% from 2015, and I will be pushing for the rate to be reduced by the full 15% from 2015.
“Many families in the area are struggling to get by and pay for the basics, and I think it is only right that they be given as much relief as possible as soon as possible.”
Cllr Bonner said that SDCC could absorb the reduction come 2015 and still remain in the black. A cut of 15% would see the council take in at least €5 million less in the year.
The tax is due to come into effect on July 1, with 80% of the funds raised ring-fenced for local services.
Cllr Bonner said: “80% of the Property Tax will be going straight to the county council, with no middleman.
“From my understanding, the council will be well able to absorb a 15% cut in the tax without hitting services, and would most likely still increase its revenue.
“If the council can take a 15% cut and still be in the black, then we should go all out and reduce the Property Tax by 15%.”
Cllr Bonner said that the council should act immediately, when it has the power to do so.
Fine Gael councillor for Lucan, Emer Higgins, said that if the council could afford to take the cut while protecting services, it should be done.
She said: “At the moment, the tax is in its early stages, and we need to gather as much information as possible on compliance rates and how the money is being spent.
“If there is any way that we can lower the tax while protecting services, then we should absolutely look at that, because I know that there are families who are struggling to pay the tax.”