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Policy issues concerning Taxation

Some of Ireland's richest have a taxable income of less than the average industrial wage, with many paying income tax at a lower rate than the average taxpayer. What can government do in Budget 2019 to counter this highly unfair situation?

With 800,000 people in poverty, record numbers on healthcare waiting lists and more than 3,800 children homeless, Ireland is a profoundly unequal place. Inequality hurts the economy, leading to unstable economic growth and employment, higher debt, housing bubbles and increased homelessness. Substantial evidence has emerged in recent years to support the view that economies and societies perform better across a number of different metrics, from better health to lower crime rates, where there is less inequality.

Just two of the income taxation proposals currently under consideration for Budget 2019 would produce fair outcomes: an increase in the personal tax credit for everyone or a reduction in the 0.5% and 2% USC rates. The impact of most income tax proposals currently being considered by government would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees.

A low tax-take is not justified in a wealthy society. With new all-time highs in household wealth levels, government should take the opportunity to raise the resources needed to build a fair and just society.

Social Justice Ireland publishes its annual Socio-Economic Review today, and calls for an increase in Ireland's overall tax take of €3bn. This must be the first step on the path to funding a fairer and more equal society. The Government needs to raise additional annual tax revenue far in excess of current levels if we are to acheive this.

Social Justice Ireland recommends a Minimum Effective Rate of 6 per cent. This would only affect companies who are currently availing of effective rates lower than that on a regular basis; something that is quite unacceptable.

Some tax proposals currently being considered by Government should be rejected because they would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees according to a new study conducted by Social Justice Ireland.

Social Justice Ireland's work on developing a Universal Basic Income for Ireland was acknowledged by Noel Whelan in his op-ed article in The Irish Times on September 15, 2017.

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

Ireland’s social contract is broken.  The legitimate expectations of citizens are not being met.  This is most obvious in areas such as housing and homelessness, a two-tier healthcare system, an ongoing failure to provide rural broadband and high levels of poverty and social exclusion, especially among children.  2017 is the first year of a new century for Ireland and now is the perfect opportunity to develop a new and radical social contract for Ireland’s second century. 

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