‘Councils should retain 100% of property tax’

Road repairs, grass-cutting, and other services are not being delivered to a lot of people in Co Cork as the local authority is starved of money due to the Government taking 20% of the local property tax (LPT).

‘Councils should retain 100% of property tax’

The county council is urging the Government to adopt the recommendations of the Thornhill Report which stated that 100% of the LPT collected by each local authority be retained by it.

The LPT raises €40.8m in Co Cork annually of which the Government seizes €8.168m.

The motion was adopted after it was put to the council chamber yesterday by Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley. She said services were being hit as the council could not pay for them and also did not have enough staff.

She pointed out that when the LPT was first brought in, the Government sold it by saying all the money would be retained by local authorities to enhance services but later backtracked and took 20% of it into exchequer coffers.

She said that when it was first introduced, the majority of people were fine with it, until the Government took a percentage.

“The finance collected locally should be expended locally,” Cllr Noel Collins said.

“He who pays the piper should be allowed to call the tune.”

Cllr Timmy Collins said cuts to staffing levels were directly due to a government embargo on recruitment.

Cllr Melissa Mullane said she was concerned Cllr Linehan-Foley wanted to keep what was raised in municipal districts for municipal districts and that was unfair because some poorer areas would suffer as a result.

“Just because Mallow is bigger than Rockchapel, Rockchapel shouldn’t be left behind,” she said.

Cllr Linehan-Foley said she did not want the LPT money earmarked only for municipal districts where they were collected, but distributed by the council to the whole of the county.

“First, we had the household charge of €100 which was used to fund Irish Water. This tax takes no account of people’s earnings and it is regressive,” said Cllr Des O’Grady.

“All citizens should be given the same level of services across the county. The best thing they could do is scrap it and start again.”

Cllr Seamus McGrath said the Government was not providing a proper level of grant aid to local authorities and that it was even using “a good share of the LPT” for the grant-aid it handed out.

The council recommended the 100% of the LPT be retained by local authorities and those with weaker tax bases would receive supplementary exchequer funding.

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