You can just imagine Minister for the Environment (and the household charge) Phil Hogan in a nice blue shirt, can't you?
You know, dating back to a time before his party discovered relative social liberalism - I did say relative, at least in comparison to Fianna Fail - back around the time of Fitzgerald.
He is now threatening councils, who do not pull in the charge in sufficient quantities, with dire consequences in terms of cutbacks in services. Which means some Donegal councils will be hit very hard indeed, with reported rates of only 25% compliance.
On the other hand the part of Dublin where I live has, according to yesterday's Irish Times, the third-highest rate of compliance after Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin City Council. All areas with a high proportion of PAYE workers, used to being fleeced.
[Just to note, the councillors of Dublin City Counicl, led by FF-er of the time, and "Gaeilge agus Failte" solicitor, Tom Brabazon, decreed English language names would be banned from future buildings and roads in the capital in one council brainstorming session. Presumably one of the "essential services" we are paying them generously for?]
What a waste of money, and how much do we pay these idiots? You would have to wonder how much waste goes on in our local authorities. What is our money spent on, and how many up-their-own-arse councillors we actually need. Should we willingly volunteer to hand over another chunk of our depleted wages, after the myriad taxes we pay already, without any promise of reform in these areas?
It's a strange one. I can see the point of a property tax in widening the tax base if implemented properly - as a reader pointed out recently - but I just don't trust our Powers That Be to do that.
Even now, they are talking about using Revenue to deduct "at source". And what class of taxpayer currently pays taxes deducted at source? Why, the PAYE sector. And to be honest, I think that sector is bled dry enough as it is.
Sure, if the tax was administered properly, with a corresponding reduction in PAYE for instance, there might be some merit in it. But you just know it is going to be an other tax on top of everything else, that will do little to restore any balance in the Irish tax system.
And if the authorities are already hinting at deducting "at source" what do they mean exactly?
Can we expect the self-employed and businessmen/women to keep on using creative accountants - and there's an oxymoron - to evade, or at least minimise, liability should that occur...while the PAYE sector continues to carry the country - waste and all - with its source contributions?
It's a funny place indeed where the socialists are among the most trenchant opposition to a property tax, but Ireland is a funny place. Not "ha ha" funny, but weird funny.
It's also a funny place where the authorities are threatening to "go after" those who do not pay.
How many bankers, developers and speculators - who bankrupted the country - have been pursued by the State with the same vigour?
I can see a "no" coming up in the next referendum, if only to give the government a bloody nose. And an Ireland without ECB bailout funds will be even funnier.
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