Gormley Publishes Local Government Charges Bill 2009
Mr John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government today (24 June) announced the publication of the Local Government Charges Bill 2009 and for its presentation to the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Bill gives effect to the Budgetary Decision last October to introduce a 200 euro charge on non principal private residences, and is estimated to give rise to an annual revenue stream of 40 million for the local government sector.
In the main, owners of residential rental property, holiday homes and vacant residential property (unless newly constructed and unsold) will be liable to pay the charge. The Bill provides for a number of exemptions from payment of the charge such as the temporary ownership of a second home acquired for a short period while moving house.
"This Bill represents a significant broadening of the revenue base of local authorities" said the Minister. He went on to say that the measure is significant because it recognises that local authorities should not be unduly dependent on central government funding and that its importance outweighs the level of revenue which it will generate.
He pointed out that the existing revenue base of local authorities is narrow by international standards.
"It's now generally accepted that our economy, and especially our tax revenues, has been overly reliant on activity in the construction sector. The decline in the yield from transaction taxes - such as stamp duty, capital gains tax and value added tax - on property generally has been a major factor in the imbalance in our public finances which the Government has had to address. The correction has been sharp and painful, and more needs to be done" he added.
The Minister acknowledged that the introduction of the charge on non principal private residences was one of the measures the Government had to take to bridge the gap between public spending and income. But he was adamant the Bill was more than simply a measure to raise additional revenue, and said it was a new form of revenue stream, derived and spent locally, that will not be subject to the volatility associated with transaction based property taxes.