“DEATH by a thousand paper cuts” is how one Cork city councillor has described the decision to maintain an increase on the basic rate of local property tax (LPT) in the city for the next two years.
At a meeting on Wednesday, councillors agreed to leave the LPT at the current rate - 9% above the basic rate.
Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn told, saying that people are already struggling with mortgage increases, electricity bills and other costs.
He described the LPT as “a very unfair tax, to say the least” and criticised that it is not means tested.
Speaking at the meeting, Workers' Party councillor Ted Tynan voiced his opposition to the LPT describing it as a “tax on the family home” and said that central Government should be providing "sufficient" funds to local authorities to enable them to provide all the necessary services.
Elected members of a local authority may pass a formal resolution to vary the basic rate of the LPT for their administrative area by a percentage known as the local adjustment factor (LAF). Councillors can decide to change the rate upwards or downwards by 15 per cent.
The proposal to leave the LPT at 9% above the basic rate for 2023 and 2024 was put forward by Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin and seconded by Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill.
Labour Party councillor John Maher said he would also support the 9% variation to “maintain local area budgets” and ensure funding is there to support clubs, communities and organisations – a sentiment echoed by Fianna Fáil councillor John Sheehan.
“We’re using this money for the benefit of the city… all of us as councillors have had reps for traffic calming measures in our area.. and this funding funds those measures and many other measures that enhances the community in which we live,” Mr Sheehan said.
Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent said the party could not support any increase to the basic rate of LPT.
"In an ideal world," he said the party would be looking for a decrease but, taking on board "the financial situation of the council", the party proposed no change to the basic rate of LPT.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Nugent said that, if in power, Sinn Féin would allocate additional funding to local authorities and would seek to abolish the tax.
The proposal to adjust the basic rate of LPT by 9% for a period of two years was passed with 19 votes in favour and seven against.