P300% property tax increase hit

TAX PAYERS UP IN UPROAR

LINGAYEN–A 300 percent increase in property tax took effect in January this year, prompting a wave of protests from various sectors in the province.

“Atrocious and oppressive” was how some property owners described the increase wherein those, for example, who were paying only P300 in previous years are now asked to pay more than P1,000.

The business sector and municipal governments are also among those questioning the increase, which is contained in an ordinance passed by the provincial board on December 10, 2010 and took effect in January this year.

Among those who have aired their protest are the Eastern Pangasinan Chamber of Commerce, the Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas town, Mayor Haydee Chua of Asingan and Abono partylist founding chairman Rosendo So.

So, who represents the agricultural sector, said the abrupt increase in real property taxes needs to be reviewed by the board.

REVIEW

Sixth District Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani, who claims to have been absent when the ordinance in question was passed, said he is filing a resolution calling for a review of the ordinance.

Shahani met fellow board members in a caucus last week during which they studied possible mitigating measures that may be adopted to address the mounting protest from taxpayers.

Among the options that Shahani proposed is a one year moratorium on taxpayers, a possible roll back on the increase, or imposing a more graduated tax increase that will not hurt individual taxpayers.

JUSTIFIED

However, not all members of the board are inclined to support Shahani’s position.

Sixth District Board Member Alfonso Bince Jr., for one, believes the increase is justified as the provincial government has not increased real property taxes for the past nine years.

He said the Local Government Code allows local government units to increase property taxes in their respective localities every three years.—LM

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