Government softening you up to accept higher 'green' tax

On time we used to talk about the weather, then it was house prices XX , now weather’s just not sexy so we’ve rebranded it climate change.
Hold onto your wallets folks, this is not about climate change its about raising extra revenue and it will hit poorer people hardest, they will pay more because they can’t afford to move to the latest tax efficient technologies.

Who doesn’t want to save the planet? … lanet.html

The Green Party seem to be blinkered to the impact of these taxes beyond whatever leafy, cycle-laned city suburbs they live in.
Make no mistake - this is a serious threat to our economy in the medium term.
This isn’t helped by the fact emissions targets are based on GDP, which in Ireland’s case is artificially inflated by transfer pricing.

Ireland has always been dominated by rural one-off settlements that are 100% car-dependent, to a greater extent than most other EU countries.
Since 1990 we went and built a few hundred thousand houses around the model of low-density sprawl and long-distance, car-based commuting.
The houses themselves add to the problem, as there were no emissions standards in place when they were built.

Then suddenly we reckon we can reduce emissions by 3% per year, starting now.

The reality is, if we implement the carbon tax agenda at the levels currently being proposed, the economic situation in Ireland will not be pretty and all of us will have to endure severe pain to meet the targets.

Economic contraction that we’re seeing now would help if it continues, but would not be enough on its own.

As GB said, the pain will be severest for those who cannot adapt their lifestyle - for example, the older person living alone out the country in an isolated 1950s house who needs their car to get anywhere.

No doubt some will argue this sacrifice is nothing compared to the pain of the planet burning in 100 years :unamused:
I remain sceptical about that whole theory, and the cost vs benefit of what we’ll have to endure here when you consider the emissions generated by unregulated countries.

The majority support carbon taxes…Who did they survey and what were they asked? Then again 98% of all statistics are made up.

Ah but wooly green notions are so fashionable - we all want to be seen to “save the earth”, provided it’s not too much bother.

It will be a different story when, to quote the ESRI, “petrol is €2 a litre and the price of electricity increases threefold.”

(Yes, ESRI figures may not exactly be spot on, but you get the idea :wink: ) … 50779.html

They’re also softening us up for water charges. They’re praying for a nice drought this summer so they can fire out the PR contracts and hype up that Blessington and Inniscarra are bone dry.

While scepticism about the motives of government is always justified, tax incentives for less polluting cars seem to me a no-brainer.

Very true. But people who choose to buy and live in these one-off type settlements that you refer to (and vote for parties that do not prioritise rail transport like FF, FG and the PD’s) shouldn’t be allowed to escape the economic and other consequences of their actions.

Was going to make that same point myself.
Unless some form of personalised carbon taxes come in, those who do a 70 mile round to work in a high polluting car will pay the same taxes as someone who doesnt drive and walks or takes public transport to work.

I wouldn’t expect the average man on the street to sit down and assess the future sustainability of the one-off house he’s building. After all, it was obviously beyond the capabilities of the Environment Ministers in place at the time.

Most of these places were built before “The Inconvenient Truth” was screened and global warming became the headline-grabber it is today. Carbon footprint wasn’t an issue when it came to building a house.

There are people in the planning department and the Department of the Environment who have been educated and paid to ensure responsible planning. They have failed miserably, and although there is evidence of a re-think recently, it’s way too late.

The taxpayer will now be shafted for their failure to take a stand and formulate a sustainable planning policy twenty years ago.

good posts.

the government has a problem with the public finances. they cannot raise corporation tax (the MNCs would bolt), capital gains or other wealth taxes (the rich would bolt) so THEY HAVE TO TAX THE POOR. no option.

politically, its hard to tax the poor because they whinge a lot. but if you brand it a green tax and say its to save the planet? then you can tax the basic processes of living (energy, waste, water, transport) and get away with it. taxing these things affects everyone of course, but the poor spend a large fraction of their income on these basics.

the Greens don’t seem to be aware of their role as the fig leaf on a very hairy ugly beast indeed (the public finances). they are enthusiastic taxers. the scary thing is that they seem to believe their own bullsh$t.

Surely you can have environmental taxes that effect the rich a bit more.
How about more taxes on airtravel or taxes on private airplanes / helicopters. Even taxes on luxury home items that are not enery efficient items like jacussis , outdoor patio heaters etc.

Do you think they have any input when the local FF councilor is having words in the ear of the local planners when poor Ned Joe down the road can’t build 10 bungalows on his land?

bungaloid said

I agree, they dont seem to realise that they are being used to generate the governments tax requirement and are just pawns in the system. The fact they believe their own publicity is frightening because you dont know what hairbrained scheme they will dream up next to hurt the most vulnerable.

However, a “personalised carbon tax” is still inequitable.
The person who “walks or takes public transport” has the option to do so, as perhaps they live near the DART line, or a mile from work.

The long distance commuter has a choice between becoming unemployed and moving nearer their job.
Considering the second option, if the entire commuting population of Navan, Kells, Mullingar, Gorey, Dundalk etc converge upon Dublin City Centre looking for a property, I wouldn’t like to think what will happen to property prices in that area.
(Scrapping the gas-guzzler is a no-brainer, and a good thing, but will only go so far).

This is why carbon taxes, particularly on transport fuels, in a country like Ireland are fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, I see no alternative to achieve the objective that is proposed.

I only hope that we will look back on this whole venture in 50 years time and say the benefit was worth the cost. I can’t help being cynical considering the amount of vested interest and hysteria behind the whole “climate change” agenda, not to mention the developing countries whose unchecked carbon emissions will be going skywards, especially as all heavy European industries re-locate.

It’s unfortunate all right, especially with the lack of proper transport or high density residental in ireland - but whether by tax or oil prices, communting ‘irish style’ will have to change.

What you are basically doing is putting people between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is intrinsically unfair.

  1. tenancy legislation is inadequate so long term renting is not an option in this country.
  2. the bulk of jobs are in urban areas where people on average incomes cannot afford to buy
  3. many of them are forced into making a call between some modicum of life stability by buying where they can (just about) afford and convenience to public transport to their jobs by renting near where they work.
  4. had more people rented in the Dublin basin, rents would be on a par with house purchasing in the Dublin area, the Dublin public transport system would be even more overburdened than it is.

I’m all for the stick approach when - and only when - the planning that is needed on a central basis is sorted out. This means joined up thinking on the front of public transport (sadly lacking) and urban planning (comical in this country). Punishing individuals for collective failings is plain wrong.

I am very, very dubious about environmental taxes that are environmental for the sake of being environmental. I also feel that there is a tendency to go for low hanging fruit.

Currently our biggest spending binge in this country has been on property. If we are looking for some solutions to some of the problems we have, we could start off with a wealth tax on unused property. This would a) increase a tax intake and b) release unused property onto the market. It would precipitate a property crash too but frankly I suspect that’s necessary.

We need to do some more effective spatial planning. We do not seem to be capable of it. If you read any of the online debates on MetroNorth in Dublin, as unfortunately I have to for various reasons, the overwhelming impression that a dispassionate observer would get is that the arguments are ideologically driven and not practicality driven. This is no difference.

Fix the infrastructural and planning deficit that has lead to many people being forced to make a choice between poor options. Only start taxing them when their options include viable options. Unfortunately in Ireland those viable options for the most part do not exist.

Philosophically I have a massive issue with telling people how they should live their lives. I have a massive issue with the judgementalism which seems to be prevalent in this country (viz all the arguments on what you need versus what you want - eg single people don’t need three bedroomed houses when some of those single people play the piano and can’t put pianos into apartments, for example, and some ofthose apartments have zero storage). Much of the judgementalism is predicated on the basis that other people should only have the lives that we have.

Environmental taxes will no doubt be dressed up on a “you’ll only be taxed on what you use” way. The better approach would be to nominate a certain - reasonably generous minimum usage of all things be it ESB, gas, water, petrol and then beyond that usage ramp up the tax.

But we won’t get that here, will we?

Closing the door after the horse has bolted is the cliche that springs to mind.

The time to do that was 2002 or so, when it could’ve had some reasonable chance of keeping even a modest amount of price moderation by releasing supply. At this stage any decision that is taken that would be seen to cause or hasten a house price fall would be political suicide. There’ll be no will for it.

There’s still a large amount of sentiment out there that a property crash is avoidable, no single minister or party will want to be the one who gets the finger pointed at them saying “well if minister X hadn’t done Y, we wouldn’t have had a property crash”. We’ve recently heard Ahern blaming “external factors”, which isn’t entirely untrue, but it only represents a factor of the big picture. You can expect to hear it, or a variation thereof, repeated often in the future.

Actually, from a financial perspective, the time to do it is now, given how many people would have to pay that tax.

2002 was the time to do it if you wanted to prevent property speculation but actually - no one wanted to prevent it.

Owning several houses which lie unoccupied for the most part can with some creative vision be seen as environmentally unfriendly plus if they are unoccupied, they are not “necessary” per se. You can make a case for people needing to get to work but not for needing to own several houses.

universal 100Mbps broadband should be at the top of the green agenda. it would enable people to work more flexibly and reduce oil imports, cutting co2, improving efficiency and competitiveness.

so broadband must be at the top of the Green agenda, right?

wrong. in fact last year minister Ryan diverted funds from broadband to subsidise wood pellet burners.

Greens prefer to invent new taxes and batty renewable energy get-rich-quick schemes. generally mess with stuff they don’t understand. meanwhile FF (who whatever their faults do understand) must let them do it because they need to keep that fig leaf in place.

I don’t disagree that to do it, either then or now, would make sense from a financial perspective. The main point I was making was that it would’ve been politically easier back then. (Which might be stating the bleedin’ obvious I know, but new taxes are never welcome news.)

In my experience, when decisions make either political sense or financial sense, the political tends to win out.