Responding to Finance Minister Ian Pearson’s statement today that many ratepayers will face major rises in their rates bills from 2007, Alliance Party Finance Spokesman Seamus Close MLA stated:
“The current system is antiquated and unfair, as it takes no account of ability to pay. Whilst the new system will be an improvement, insofar as it will be based on property value, it will still fail to take adequate recognition of the ability to pay and will be seen by many to be an unfair burden.
“When they add this new rate to the proposed ‘tap tax’, people will see the full impact of a so-called left-of-centre party. If this Government were seriously looking for fair play and equity, it would have grasped the opportunity to introduce local income tax.
“This is recognised by all fair-minded people as the most equitable form of taxation, recognising ability to pay, and most importantly, recognising the position of our senior citizens, who having served society should not be penalised by unfair domestic rates or water rates.”