Anarchist News

No 29

Service Charges Taking from the poor to give to the rich

One of the main reasons that we are fighting against the bin tax is because it is another attempt to transfer wealth from workers to the rich. Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in 1987 wages and salaries amounted to 59% of Gross Domestic Product, while profits and rents taken by capitalists amounted to 41%. By 2001 the proportion going to workers had fallen to 46% while profits and rents rose to 54%. Our 'share' of national wealth had fallen by 30% while that of the bosses had risen by at least 55%. One of the factors behind this transfer of wealth is our increasingly unjust tax system.

CORI's 2003 budget submission pointed out that "Ireland takes a far higher proportion of its taxes from income tax (31.4%) compared to the EU (25.5%)." OECD figures from 2002 revealed that, although Ireland is the lowest taxing EU country, in terms of the proportion of total revenue accounted for by personal income tax (31%), it comes fourth highest in the European Union. The goods and services tax (VAT), at 39% of the total tax take, is also high in comparison with other member states.

The suggestion has been made that the PAYE tax cuts of the last years cancel out the bin tax. Yet these tax cuts were already sold to us as a substitute for wage rises under the various 'National partnership' deals and the tax cuts corporations and the rich were getting at the same time were worth more then the tax cuts given to ordinary workers. In the 2001 and 2002 budgets alone, corporate tax cuts amounted to over 600 million euro.

The Confederation of British Industry says Ireland's taxes on profits, employers' National Insurance contributions, and business rates accounted for 7.2% of GNP. This is below the USA (7.3%), Germany (10.1%), Netherlands (9.7) and France (14.4%). Lowtax.net which provides an "electronic source of information on offshore and 'low-tax' regimes worldwide" says of Ireland "It is difficult to see what other EU country would be brave enough to take its corporation tax rate down to 12.5%"

Service charges like the bin tax make the situation even less fair. At least income tax is progressive - people pay a certain percentage of their income as tax and the more that people earn, the higher percentage they pay. The bin tax, on the other hand, is a flat fee and everybody pays the same amount. This is a regressive tax as the more that you earn, the smaller the percentage of your income that you pay in tax. A billionaire like Tony O'Reilly pays the same bin tax as a cleaner or a bus driver.

Minister Martin Cullen has indicated that he hopes to get the bin charge up to 700 Euro a year and we know that they hope to get other charges up by a couple of hundred as well. In five or ten years, such local charges could easily total 1000 Euro. Take two households. One has an income of 20,000 the other 200,000.The first would be paying 5% of their income on service charges, the second would be paying 0.5%. The rich will get richer and workers will have to shoulder even more of the costs of public services.


This article is from Anarchist News No 29 Nov 2003

Sunday Independent claims anarchists are 'infiltrating' bin tax campaign
The mouthpiece of millionaire Tony O'Reilly, the Sunday Independent, got terribly excited when it 'discovered' there were anarchists involved in the bin tax campaign
Government announces new 'turd tax'
Minister for the environment Martin Cullen today announced a new tax on visits to the toilet, which has already been dubbed the 'turd tax'.
Anarchists, the bin tax & direct action
There are many political groups and individuals involved in the campaign against the bin tax. Many of them see the campaign as little more than a way of getting votes in the local elections of June 2004.
The Bin Tax & Privatisation
It is no secret that the government wants to privatise the bin service in Dublin. The service has already been privatised in thirty-seven Local Authorities around the country
Cork Against the Bin Tax
The campaign in Cork and contact detials for anarchists active in the campaign in Dublin

 

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