Each year Tipperary County Council start a charade around the LPT (Local property tax) based on a disingenuous narrative whereby Tipperary County Council finish off their annual LPT workshop with a plea that we are the largest recipient from the equalisation fund. Thereby creating the narrative that Tipp CoCo should be thankful for the kindness of “richer” counties.
That narrative couldn’t be more misleading. In 2014 when the then Fine Gael and Labour government decided to further erode local government by closing Town and Borough councils and Tipperary going down from 9 councils to 1 was the hardest hit in the country losing the “general purpose grants“ for all 9 councils. In my eyes, I reckon Tipperary County Council is down at least 20 million a year since 2014. This was why the equalisation fund was supposedly set up, to bring counties up to their previous funding level.
Each year there is the charade of FF and FG lectures as to why people who don’t vote for the LPT increase shouldn’t get the chance to spend any of the increased LPT, but of course this is laughable coming from parties that have stood over the destruction of Local Government funding (in 1977 FF all but destroyed local government funding by abolishing two of the three local government service charges and the residential property tax) which was replaced by the annual raid on motor tax which was diverted into a Local Government fund and divvied out from central funds. In 2014 FG and Labour put another large stake into the heart of local Government by closing Town and Borough councils and then pilfering the proceeds of Motor Tax for the failed quango Irish Water.
Local Government funding in Ireland is the lowest in the whole of Europe that is the legacy of FF/ FG the Greens and Labour (only 8% of public spending occurs and local government level compared with an EU average of 23%) so any lectures from those parties on LPT are lamentable.
I have however decided this year to support the LPT increase as I see how well the money is being used at council level in RRDF and URDF schemes (even though Tipp CoCo has claimed that their allocations to these schemes is causing it financial hardship). It is an extra tax on our home owners but it is one that is necessary to make up for the lack of central funding and to be fair the work being carried out across Tipperary are worth financing.
The government are at the moment carrying out a review in taxation with its Commission on taxation and welfare 2021 and I am now stating that we as a state have to review how we fund local government and that includes a debate on a proper property tax used in different ways across the world .