USE CARBON TAX TO FUND PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE IN BUDGET 2020, CORK CHAMBER SAYS
Public Investment should be focus of Budget 2020
Only 10% prioritise income tax cuts, Chamber survey reveals
91% of Cork business support budgetary measures to stimulate new housing
Carbon Tax to be ring-fenced and reinvested in a low carbon economy
Launching its pre-budget submission, Cork Chamber has called on Government to prioritise state investment over tax cuts in Budget 2020.
This follows the results of the Chamber’s Q2 2019 economic survey in which 91% of Cork businesses expressed support for targeted and timebound measures to stimulate construction of more urban accommodation. The same survey found the top three threats to business growth to be Brexit, the availability of rental accommodation/housing, and skills availability.
Commenting on the upcoming Budget, Paula Cogan, Cork Chamber President, said: “For a business representative body, it was surprising to see 40% of our members supporting public investment while only 10% prioritise tax reforms in Budget 2020. This strong call for State investment underlines both the anticipation and frustration among the Cork business community about delays to strategic projects, as well as the critical need for housing and infrastructure delivery to enable businesses compete, grow and attract staff in an increasingly competitive international environment.”
In its submission, the Chamber also expresses support for the principle of a Carbon Tax, on the condition that any existing and future revenues raised through such as measure be ring-fenced and reinvested to aid the transition to a low carbon economy.
On Carbon Tax, the Chamber President added: “While Ireland needs to improve its record on climate, proposed Carbon Tax increases must not take place in isolation. Alternatives must exist for businesses and consumers to mitigate the negative cost implications of a tax increase. Government already generates €440 per year from carbon tax which goes straight into the main treasury account. Any existing and revenues raised through Carbon Tax must be clearly directed to support policy interventions and to increase the affordability of alternatives to our current carbon intensive lifestyle. Use carbon tax revenues to fund cycling infrastructure, public transport, retrofitting of buildings and investment in renewable energy”.
The submission also calls on Government to use the budget to address the issue of apartment viability which is holding back development of new urban housing across Ireland’s cities. Commenting on the Chamber’s proposed 16 options to close the viability gap Ms. Cogan said: “Our insufficient housing stock remains a primary business concern which has a negative impact on the ability of businesses to grow, hire and retain talent, and contributes to wage inflation thus impacting competitiveness. 91% of our members support Government taking action to stimulate new urban accommodation which clearly underlines the scale of the housing crisis for businesses of all sectors and sizes.”