Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has accused Fine Gael and Labour of attempting to hide behind false claims that they are being forced into introducing property taxes.
The Kerry Senator has voiced his strong opposition to the Government’s plans to hit homeowners with a property tax at a time when so many in people in Kerry and across the country are already in mortgage difficulty and negative equity.
Senator Daly said: “The reality is that many families in Kerry simply cannot afford more taxes on a home that they are already struggling to pay for. The latest figures show that more than a quarter of homeowners are in mortgage difficulty and I have spoken to many people locally who can’t afford their basic household bills as it is, let alone pay extra taxes of hundreds a euro a year on their home.
“Let’s be completely clear about this – no one is forcing Fine Gael and Labour to hit homeowners with property taxes. Fianna Fáil met with Troika officials last month and they could not have been clearer that property taxes are not necessary if we reach our overall savings targets in the Budget. It is completely up to the Government to choose what policies to implement to meet these targets.
“The Government needs to take a step back instead of blindly continuing down this road without considering the massive impact on homeowners at a time of a deepening mortgage crisis. A property tax based on market value is highly discriminatory
and makes no consideration whatsoever of ability to pay. What about a homeowner in Tralee whose house is worth €200,000 but who is in negative equity, struggling to meet mortgage repayments and has already paid stamp duty? Will they be forced to pay out an extra €500 a year in property taxes?
“The reality is that this is the wrong tax at the wrong time and it poses unnecessary hardship on homeowners who already feel they are being squeezed from every angle. Fianna Fáil alternative budget proves that property taxes are not necessary to meet the overall adjustment of €3.5 billion next year. Instead of property taxes, we propose an increase in the Universal Social Charge for people earning over €100,000 a year, a direct levy on earnings in the tobacco industry that would raise €100 million and an increase in Capital Gains Tax and Capital Acquisition Tax. This is a much fairer way towards recovery.”
Senator Daly concluded, “The Government needs to tackle the escalating mortgage crisis before slapping additional hefty bills on hard-pressed families.”