Reduce income tax, place tax on environmental pollution instead

12 November 2012: The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of 26 national environmental groups, is calling for major tax reform as one of their Budget recommendations to create sustainable employment and a robust economy. Their proposal involves a shift away from taxes on income and reasonable profits, in favour of raising taxes on the consumption of natural resources and on activities that harm the ecosystem services that provide us with clean waters, healthy soils, a stable climate and a thriving diversity of plant and animal species.
‘Taxes that charge for resource use and make the polluter pay are far healthier for the Irish economy than taxes on paid work or corporate investment,’ said Emer O’Siochru, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar.
‘Our proposed measures on taxation are fair and progressive. They’ll broaden the tax base and encourage investment in low-carbon industries which are the way of the future. They’ll also stop further degradation of public assets such as clean beaches and rivers,’ she said.
Key reforms in the coalition’s proposal include:
– An energy tax scheme that rewards those who use the least carbon,
– A Site Value Tax to encourage good development planning,
– Taxes on environmental ‘bads’ such as pollution and waste,
– The elimination of environmental harmful tax subsidies, and
– Tax relief for new businesses that comply with strict sustainability guidelines.
The coalition also believes that all capital spending by the government should be assessed for its ability to create employment as well as its environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The Environmental Pillar’s proposals for the 2013 Budget are available here