President’s comments remind us that elections shouldn’t go to the highest bidder

Green Party Finance spokesperson Cllr Mark Dearey has welcomed the comments from President Michael D. Higgins about the impacts that auction politics will have on public services and on the public realm in general.

 

Speaking today, Cllr Dearey said: “The President has given all politicians standing for election reason to pause and reflect on the long term consequences of their short term electoral promises. He has framed it as an ethical question as indeed it is. We have lived with the impacts and seen huge suffering in our society as a direct result of running up massive budget deficits to win elections in 2002 and 2007.

 

“The faces at the top may have changed but election 2016 has a disturbingly similar tone to it. The Green Party are offering a different view in this election.

 

“Instead of predicting highly unreliable “fiscal space” for the next 5 years, which the shaky commitments on ending USC (FG) or property and water charges (SF, AAA), we are proposing a root and branch review of our fiscal structure and the development of a very long term tax strategy with strong counter-cyclical elements to it.”

 

“We see significant problems with the current profile of our tax revenues which are over exposed to any potential slow-down in global growth.

 

“Is it sustainable that, of the €45bn tax collected in 2015, €20bn came from labour and from our existing 23% VAT, while at the same time tax on property yielded under €0.5bn?

 

“We propose that a switch to Site Valuation Tax would replace the current rates and property tax and bring in additional revenues from unused development lands in a way which would also help us address our housing crisis.

 

“Is it acceptable that the effective tax rate for global companies based here is around 3% while SMEs in every town and village and farm, pay the full 12.5% on very hard earned profit? We propose a move over two years to increase the effective rate to close to 12.5%.

 

“The debate on fiscal space needs to switch to a debate on fiscal structure. It is a far more important matter and would ensure that certain key public services, like health, education, and housing could be funded multi-annually.

 

“In the short term however, we are calling on all the parties to also heed the advice of the Fiscal Advisory Council around available fiscal space so that the election does not just go to the highest bidder in a false auction that risks our economic future.”

Posted in Finance Policy.