ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association, has demanded rate cutes for commercial enterprises and the and the introduction of rates for those who are currently paying them.
In a statement released this morning, the organisation said a 47% increase in commercial rates in last 10 years is "unacceptable and unsustainable", and is strangling small businesses.
The organisation has called for agricultural businesses, government, local authority and church buildings to be newly levied, and they wants rate cuts for everyone else.
“Business is the only sector of society that is compelled to pay commercial rates, essentially a local business tax, which penalises enterprise and suppresses local job creation," said ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding.
"Commercial rates are a significant burden on small enterprises, with business contributing over a quarter (27%) of the total revenue stream to the local authorities.
"In the last 10 years these rates have increased by a massive 47%, over twice the rate of inflation, as a result of Government’s failure to properly fund local government."
The group has called for a number of measures to be introduced, including a root and branch review of the performance of local authorities; there-introduction of agricultural business rates; the introduction of metered water charges, and the extension of rates to include state buildings, church property and unregistered bed & breakfasts.
ISME also called for a 20% reduction on all local charges on businesses for 2011/2012, and a moratorium from paying rates for the first three years of a business start-up.