Friday, October 10, 2003

"Bin tax"

I haven't commented on the "bin tax" dispute - the political dispute in Ireland at the moment - primarily because I'm naturally opposed to the fringe left-wing parties that are leading this dispute, but I admire how these people are undermining the excessive centralization of power we have in Ireland.

It seems obvious to me that what's good for Dublin may or may not be good for the rest of the country. If the people of Dublin would rather pay for their refuse collection with an income tax, I say that should their choice. Why should I, in Wicklow, have a say in that matter? My elected representatives should not be involved. However, that also means that any income tax collected to pay for refuse collection would have to be levied in addition to what Dubliners are already paying into the national system. It would have to be a local income tax.

In fact, this argument applies across a whole range of issues. Why should I pay for education in Donegal or police in West Cork? Why should someone in Shannon pay for the streetlight outside my house or our local hospital? I believe that most of the tax we pay should be local. There are very few items paid for by our taxes that are truly national. The Irish military is a sad and neglected institution. The Gardai are both the state police and local sheriff. Why? Why shouldn't the people of Bray decide if we are to have full time or part time police and fire departments and how many people we should have in each department. Why shouldn't we pay for that?

I think we should have elected local representatives that make decisions according to what the people in their area want. The Dail really should be a part-time institution. If decision-making were localized, we would only need them to sit for 6 weeks per year. Imagine how much family time, which they always say they'd like to have, they could enjoy. Of course, we'd only have to pay them part-time wages too.