Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | Image from my Irisheyes | 501 words
IRELAND'S SLIPSHOD MANNER of attempting to impose a household charge reflects serious deficiencies in the executive scoping skills of the Minister for the Environment. The whole thing is poorly conceptualised.
A quick scan of national news items reveals the entire issue is muddled, largely because of shortcomings in how the charge (tax) would be collected. In Ireland, you get a bill presented on paper (or online with an option to print) along with at least three methods to pay (i.e., walk your cash to the Post Office, deduct from a plastic card, or conduct a banking transaction). None of these was possible because nobody knew who was liable to pay their charge.
For me, a blow-in who has signed the deeds on two pieces of real estate, it's a little confusing why the Property Registration Authority's records could not be accessed. Both the national office and a local county council have my name and address attached to a piece of property. Once the data protocols are set up, relevant data could be culled, a database set up, and a bill issued. Then homeowners would decide to pay instead of finishing the work around their homes (evidence of our unfinished work in the photo).
Instead, the current situtation smells like a bag of soggy chips that were dipped in bad oil, then cooked for too short a time. It feels like a rush job. It discredits the Department of the Environment. And yet, I don't think it's a departmental rush job because only elected politicians are rolled out to explain the process and encourage people to pay. In the meantime, opposition to the charge is much more dominant.
Back in 2008, we had the same kind of rush job mentality at work when Anglo Irish Bank collapsed. As a result, Ireland got stuck with the worst public debt in its history. Haven't politicians reflected long enough to realise that rushed policy-making rarely succeeds?
The current Irish government claims that the terms and conditions connected to Ireland's bail-out mandates that some form of property tax must be imposed upon Irish citizens. A household charge is not a property tax. It's more like a registration fee of properties and property owners. Actually, it's more like a rallying call for citizens to vote their displeasure by refusing to register or pay.
If my Twitterstream and family conversations are any barometer of public sentiment, only half of those who should register and pay their household charge will actually meet the end of March deadline. And on the day the national news would normally be chock-full of soundbites from the annual Fine Gael Ard Fheis, hundreds of protesting voices will be heard in the background at the event.
I'm certain that a property tax will drop through our letter box before the Irish economy officially crawls out of recession. I hope the proceeds of that tax will be ring-fenced for local authority services, not to subsidise the central government thinking that has imposed a poorly conceptualised household charge.
Audio from Brian Greene.
Constantin Gurdgiv -- "Macroeconomic Case for a Land Value Tax Reform in Ireland", Smart Taxes Network, May 2009.
Constantin Gurdgiv -- "Land Value Taxation and Other Measures for Raising Public Investment Revenue: A Comparative Study", Smart Taxes Network, March 27, 2012.
Ronan Lyons -- "Residential Site Value Tax in Ireland", December 2011.
Brian Lucey -- "Linking Services and a Property Tax is a Mistake" in the Irish Examiner, March 31, 2012.