Property tax - the fairest vehicle for water infrastructure?

TheField

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Investment is clearly needed to safeguard and improve public water provision & sewage treatment. Irish Water propose to spend €326 million annually up till 2021 at least, more than doubling 2013 expenditure. https://www.water.ie/news/irish-water-reverses-hist/index.xml

The most logical way to pay for this was by metered water charges in that 1) those who use these valuable public would contribute and 2) those who were most flathulach with the water would pay more than those who were careful. A fair, logical and progressive concept but somehow or other, one which FG & FF have fecked up completely.

Given this situation, is property tax now the next most logical way to raise the additional funding required to replace and renew these public utilities. It's well established and readily collected by the Revenue Commissioners. An increase in property tax in due course geared towards this purpose might be the fairest approach, if the centrist parties and public can't stomach metered charges.

The LPT would be raised but crucially tweaked so that those on group water schemes and private wells are exempt from the increase. Knowledge of these latter premises are largely known already to Irish Water and can be cross referenced to Eircodes and by a process of registration to tidy up.

This new additional tax would then by payable by property owners on public water & sewage systems. In the interests of fairness, landlords whether private or local authority would need to be able to pass on the cost and no more, to their private or LA tenants.

In this manner all users of public water & sewage systems would contribute towards the upgrading of their services whilst those who already bear the costs would not bear the extra taxation required for services they cannot avail of.

Of course, it's not perfect - property owners in areas of higher values would complain as they will pay a larger amount. But it would be the next best system in terms of fairness.
 


Henry94.

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Yes it would but the objection will be that there will be no account taken of usage. You could get around that by making the basic fee high enough and allowing people to apply for a meter. So if you are making an effort you have a way to save.
 

Congalltee

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It would unfair for a few reasons:
- there is no link between usage and cost.
- LOCAL property tax revenue goes into a central fund already ie dublin subsidises others (like general taxation which is illogical)
- the same people will get stuck with the tab.
 

TheField

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Yes it would but the objection will be that there will be no account taken of usage. You could get around that by making the basic fee high enough and allowing people to apply for a meter. So if you are making an effort you have a way to save.
Indeed no account would be made of usage, the proposal would be equivalent to a flat charge, varying according to where you reside. But the idea of metering water consumption seems to be a form of poison in Irish politics these days. I don't know how the state can get around this mental blockage, maybe if/ when FF come in power they will have a rethink?
 

TheField

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It would unfair for a few reasons:
- there is no link between usage and cost.
- LOCAL property tax revenue goes into a central fund already ie dublin subsidises others (like general taxation which is illogical)
- the same people will get stuck with the tab.
Yes there would be no linkage between usage and cost, but that concept whilst desirable, has been firmly shot down as things stand currently. The question is - since someone has to pay, what is the next fairest system?

The people stuck with the tab would be the majority of users of public water & sewage. Property owners and tenants whether private or LA with exemption for those who already fund their own water & sewage services.

What's not to like? Other than the idea of paying more tax.
 

Uganda

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Much has been made of the demands by scroungersRUs to have water paid for through general taxation.

The solution is simple.

We need to invest more, and therefore raise more.

So raise either income tax, or USC ( or prsi) by 2% to pay for it.

But then allow those who wish to pay for water used via metering do so and get a credit for the 2%.
 

murf13

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Property taxation (primary residence) is a method of raising revenue which should be avoided at all costs for the following reasons...
1) it is an encumbrance upon the property which serves to deny citizens the right to outright ownership of their home which imho is a basic human right
2) as with all taxation, it is a form of subjugation
3) the risk of unfair and inequitable burdens being placed upon those least able to afford it is enormous
4) as we have seen in the US, property taxation can become a method of discrimination and a method by which people can and do segregate.
5) finally, the likelihood of governments, once they've got the foot in your door so to speak of increasing this taxation exponentially is enormous (again, as we've seen in the US and other places).


People should have imho, basic human rights to expect to food, shelter, medical assistance and education free from the burden of taxation
 

TheField

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Much has been made of the demands by scroungersRUs to have water paid for through general taxation.

The solution is simple.

We need to invest more, and therefore raise more.

So raise either income tax, or USC ( or prsi) by 2% to pay for it.

But then allow those who wish to pay for water used via metering do so and get a credit for the 2%.
There is logic in that but you would also need a corresponding credit for those who already pay for these services and have done so for many years. The only benefit of raising it via LPT rather than income tax or USC is that LPT is theoretically linked to provision of local services.
 

Jim Car

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Most logical approach is to pay for what you use it is also the fairest.
 

TheField

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People should have imho, basic human rights to expect to food, shelter, medical assistance and education free from the burden of taxation
I don't even remotely understand how you can expect to be a functioning citizen of a state and not pay tax. Taxation as a concept has been around for many centuries, whether you paid in cattle, services, goods or money.

As a citizen, it is your basic duty to contribute towards the state and society in which you reside. To provide a variety of essential services and to assist those who are unable to earn an income for whatever reason. That is your role as a citizen and society within a state cannot function otherwise.
 

asset test

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It is a utility used by everyone, LPT is not paid by renters. So that's a no from me so.

However, if LPT ever morphed into a Council type tax paid by everyone (with the usual waivers), then OK.
 

Congalltee

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Most logical approach is to pay for what you use it is also the fairest.
No, the fairest is to pay for use which is excessive, over and above what is necessary. Had FF/Gr/FG/Lab copped into that distinction we might have been on the right track for a 20th century water system to replace our Victorian network in dublin.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Has any study been done on how much it costs to charge users, in a country of this size? The metering, all associated maintenance, calculating waiver schemes to avoid water poverty, staffing, admin, collection, chasing, billing, etc. Etc., and whether the benefits outweigh the cost of it?
 

hurling_lad

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Investment is clearly needed to safeguard and improve public water provision & sewage treatment. Irish Water propose to spend €326 million annually up till 2021 at least, more than doubling 2013 expenditure. https://www.water.ie/news/irish-water-reverses-hist/index.xml

The most logical way to pay for this was by metered water charges in that 1) those who use these valuable public would contribute and 2) those who were most flathulach with the water would pay more than those who were careful. A fair, logical and progressive concept but somehow or other, one which FG & FF have fecked up completely.

Given this situation, is property tax now the next most logical way to raise the additional funding required to replace and renew these public utilities. It's well established and readily collected by the Revenue Commissioners. An increase in property tax in due course geared towards this purpose might be the fairest approach, if the centrist parties and public can't stomach metered charges.

The LPT would be raised but crucially tweaked so that those on group water schemes and private wells are exempt from the increase. Knowledge of these latter premises are largely known already to Irish Water and can be cross referenced to Eircodes and by a process of registration to tidy up.

This new additional tax would then by payable by property owners on public water & sewage systems. In the interests of fairness, landlords whether private or local authority would need to be able to pass on the cost and no more, to their private or LA tenants.

In this manner all users of public water & sewage systems would contribute towards the upgrading of their services whilst those who already bear the costs would not bear the extra taxation required for services they cannot avail of.

Of course, it's not perfect - property owners in areas of higher values would complain as they will pay a larger amount. But it would be the next best system in terms of fairness.
The people have spoken in election after election: water and sewage infrastructure should be underfunded from general taxation, with the savings spent on social welfare, hospitals etc.
 

murf13

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I don't even remotely understand how you can expect to be a functioning citizen of a state and not pay tax. Taxation as a concept has been around for many centuries, whether you paid in cattle, services, goods or money.
Who said anything about "not pay(ing) tax"?
There are many ways in which taxation can and is levied but a tax on one's home shouldn't be one of them.

As a citizen, it is your basic duty to contribute towards the state and society in which you reside. To provide a variety of essential services and to assist those who are unable to earn an income for whatever reason. That is your role as a citizen and society within a state cannot function otherwise.
Please don't pontificate and assume to be an authority on what is or is not my "basic duty"

And know that my duty, whatever it may be to contribute to society ends at other people's unwillingness to be productive and pay their fair share.
I have no duty whatsoever to contribute to members of society who expect to me to fund their lavish and unproductive lifestyles.
In fact, it is my duty to society to protest at this enslavement of private sector producers for the gain of the vagrants and those who perceive themselves as entitled.
Moral hazard and all that...
 

wombat

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Most logical approach is to pay for what you use it is also the fairest.
Our brilliant political class have decided that this is unfair. LPT is impracticable as many rural dwellers provide their own wells although they own haciendas which must be made liable for LPT. The sad fact is that the PAYE sector will pay for all for the foreseeable future.
 

Lambic

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It would unfair for a few reasons:
- LOCAL property tax revenue goes into a central fund already ie dublin subsidises others (like general taxation which is illogical)
Note that 80% of all LPT collected in a LA stays in that LA.

The 20% is put into an equalisation fund and then paid out to LA that are weaker.
 

4horsemen

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Note that 80% of all LPT collected in a LA stays in that LA.

The 20% is put into an equalisation fund and then paid out to LA that are weaker.
LPT is a poorly constructed form of local taxation. Some easily introduced tweaks to make it somewhat fairer would be to: (1) Level it at a standard rate per sq m in all authorities (2) Extend commercial rates to all commercial ventures including whole property AirbandB and agriculture.
 

sic transit

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LPT is a poorly constructed form of local taxation. Some easily introduced tweaks to make it somewhat fairer would be to: (1) Level it at a standard rate per sq m in all authorities (2) Extend commercial rates to all commercial ventures including whole property AirbandB and agriculture.
The LPT does need a review and a redefinition that is not solely market-driven. Commercial rates are a council remit and they're pretty poor at collecting them most of the time.

As regards the original question ,as others have said, using LPT as a water rate leaves far too many holes. Whatever final fudge they end up doing on fair usage will be the only funds paid by the public towards water.
 

Uganda

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There is logic in that but you would also need a corresponding credit for those who already pay for these services and have done so for many years. The only benefit of raising it via LPT rather than income tax or USC is that LPT is theoretically linked to provision of local services.
Yes, they should be accommodated also.

The principle here is that we should be given a choice - pay by usage OR pay through tax. Make it cheaper to pay by usage though.
 


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