Quick quiz: what's the best use of this Irish land?
Irish property bust provides literal fodder.
The New Year brought the first iteration of the property tax in Ireland. In one way, it is a welcome advance in a nation where a land value bubble still reverberates like so many Block Buster bombs.
Hectares of half-built or abandoned"luxury" condos and homes littler the greater Dublin area, after the spectacle of wild-eyed lending that led to property loans making up easily mare than 2/3rds of all bank lending. during the go-go days, one developer Sean Quinn was declared Ireland's richest man. Now, he is bankrupt. Some blamed fairies. We blame more prosaic reasons: little law, little real collateral on lending, and low-to-no property taxes that permitted massive aggregations of land
Now, as recovery begins, Ireland does not want to repeat the past. Yet, the new Irish property tax is based on a fatal premise, that a flat fee on a parcel of ground is the way to start. An apiece in the Irish Times rightly calls this a poll (or "head") tax: massively regressive, and one that will hit prince or pauper alike. In a newly pauperized nation, that's not just bad policy, but bad politics.
The idea is to eventually settle on a traditional property tax, and the government is still trying to actually get is hands around land valuations to implement a national land val ue tax, a long-time dream of such fighters for Ireland as Michael Davitt and theue tax, a long-time dream of such fighters for Ireland as Michael Davitt and the Irish Land League.
Our friends at the NGO FEASTA have convincingly made the case for such a national land value tax, but the new government seems keen to haze up the issue.
There is no such thing as a one size fits all rate on property. Too many are left out of the tax. Too many are thrust into it that will not be able to afford it. Ireland needs a land value tax, not a poll tax.
Detroit? No, 3,500 miles away in "dear dirty Dublin"
photo: julien behal/pa