Local Government Funding in Crisis.

In 2014 when Fine Gael & Labour were rushing the local property tax legislation through the Dáil they told the Irish people that it would lead to increased funding for local government and services.

We’ve presented below two summary tables of an in depth analysis of the sources of funding of Mayo County Council taken directly from the adopted budgets of the Council since 2007. Using these official figures we make the arguement that this was a cover story to allow the government to put an unfair tax on the family home to fund services while cutting direct funding from central taxation.

The figures clearly give the lie to the Fine Gael / Labour Government’s promise of increased funding for local services. In 2015 when the property tax was introduced the General Purpose Grant was cut at the same time. Commercial rates were increased by 93.5% in 2015 and receipts from service charges like car parking fees increased by almost 22% the previous year in 2014.

Since 2015 the local property tax has increased by over 15% and as soon as the next election cycle is over if in power Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will ratchet it up again to match the rise in house prices.

Since 2013, commercial rates have increased by a whopping 145% which clearly shows that the establishment have no interest in helping small businesses many of whom are struggling and instead want to let the monstrous monopolies continue to evade their tax responsibilities.

11 years after the crash the total annual funding to Mayo County Council is still 9.2% below 2008 levels and when inflation is taken into account this represents a much deeper crisis of local government funding than first appears.

The strategy of the big parties is clear, in order to maintain tax haven status for the rich and the big corporate monopolies the burden of paying for services must be foisted more heavily on to working families and small businesses.

The question arises what will happen when the next recession arrives? We believe that a strong left voice in local government can put pressure on the big parties to end the tax evasion of the elites and provide adequate funding for local government and services to the benefit of all.