Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The Programme for Government acknowledges that having regard to the pressures on the national finances, the funding of local government and the associated locally delivered services should be put on a sound financial footing, with better alignment between the cost of providing services and the demand for those services.
It is clear that local authorities require sufficient funding to ensure that they can operate effectively and efficiently across their wide range of functions and responsibilities. Funding decisions must be balanced against the constraints imposed by the economic climate and the need at local level to balance required service provision with the impact of local rates and charges on business and enterprise.
The existing revenue base of local authorities is narrow by international standards. This was a consideration in the introduction of the €200 charge on non-principal private residences in 2009. A further broadening of the revenue base for local government is being achieved as a result of the introduction of the household charge from 2012 as required under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland.
The Government has established an Inter-Departmental expert Group to consider the structure and modalities for an equitable valuation based property tax. This Group will complete its work and make recommendations to me by end April 2012. I will bring proposals to Government later this year for a more comprehensive and equitable valuation-based property tax to replace the household charge. The introduction of a full property tax provides the opportunity to deal conclusively with this essential element of local government reform and create a system of local government that is more efficient, responsible, accountable and self-reliant.
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