INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Transport Funding Will Slug Ratepayers Again

Published: Thu 13 Nov 2003 10:11 AM
New Transport Funding Will Slug Ratepayers Again.
Present Rating Systems Must Be Replaced
Suggestions that central Government is to shortly announce new ways to fund solutions to Auckland's traffic and transport problems may be good news to some but a warning signal to others.
Ratepayers are again about to be slugged with substantial increases from both local and regional councils. Reports suggest 5% on local rates and 18 - 20% on regional rates.
This level of increase cannot be sustained under the present rating systems - ratepayers will simply not be able to afford to pay and could be forced out of their homes.
If central government is going to demand that local and regional councils contribute substantially to the costs of new transport measures then government must agree to an immediate review of the way rates are currently levied and bring in new funding methods which clearly reflect the 'ability to pay' factor.
Suggestions of a local GST to replace rates may be one alternative to be considered.
On the other hand government could return more of the petrol tax to local councils for transport spending - especially as Dr Cullen is gathering in huge surpluses from current taxation levels.
And ratepayers must be fully consulted before any final decisions on rate increases are put in place.

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