15% reduction in Local Property Tax

22nd September 2014

Today I voted to reduce the Local Property Tax by 15% . This was a near unanimous decision with 31 Councillors voting for the reduction, with one abstaining.

In making my decision, I took the following into account:

The people of Wicklow:

  1. pay the fourth highest LPT in the counrty (18% higher than the national average);
  2. have 25% less spent on them by the Local Authority than national average (total LEA expenditure per capita);
  3. have a disposable income that is less than the national average.

Wicklow is the only county in Ireland with a lower than average disposable income that is being asked to pay a higher than average LPT.

I think that it is unfair that 20% of the LPT raised in this county will go to other counties whose residents, on average pay less LPT than we do, pay less for a home, have more spent on services for them by their county council and have a higher disposable income than the people of Wicklow.

This decision today was not taken lightly however. As a result of this 15% decrease, Council officials have warned that there will be adverse impacts on the delivery of services. While the Government has told the story that the LPT will pay for better and more services, this is not the case. While Government is handing us 80% of our LPT with one hand, it is taking away local government funding with the other.

So today I also put forward a proposal that the Council put a submission to Central Government to outline our concerns regarding Wicklow County Councils government funding, and request an increase in our budget to reflect the higher taxes that the people of Wicklow pay.

This submission will come from the Council as a whole. I think its important that we work more cohesively as a Council. We need to question government decisions, rather than just accept them. And we need to make sure that Government, and our TDs, are aware of how their decisions are impacting on the ground in County Wicklow.