'Don't hike tax, widen the net'

People show thumbs down to property tax hike proposal

The BBMP’s (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) move to hike the property tax has come in for sharp criticism with many suggesting widening of tax net rather than burdening the existing tax payers.

Kathyayini Chamaraj of Civic Bangalore said it would be fair, if the tax revision is as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act. But the burden of paying taxes should not fall only on a section of society. Quality of services and civic amenities should also be at par with the tax collection, she said.

G Bharatiya of Eshanya Federation of Residents' Welfare Associations said the federation is against the Palike’s move. “Palike has enough powers and mechanism to extract property tax, but it never employs them. Instead, it beats drums in front of tax defaulters’ offices,” he said.

He also questioned the quality of services the Palike is providing. “If the BBMP wants a hike in property tax, it should plug the revenue leakage. Presently, the entire administration's focus is on improving infrastructure for the IT-BT and other rich class of the society while the others are left to rot. Why is it that the corporation schools, hospitals, houses for slum dwellers and garbage collection are in a shambles? Is it so because they are meant for the tax payers,” he asked.

Veena Rajappa, an office-bearer of Rajarajeshwari Nagar RWA, did not completely oppose the revision but said that the taxes should not be a liability on a section of people.

Rajashekhar Murthy, who has been living in Vijayanagar for the last thirty years, is livid with the idea of hiking the property tax. “Let them widen the tax net. Now only a few people pay tax and they pay it properly. The BBMP burdens them with imposing more tax. If they collect tax from everybody, they can keep the tax rate under check,” he opined.

Cong opposes

Opposition Leader in the Palike Council, M K Gunashekar said any move to hike property tax will be opposed vehemently. He lambasted the BJP for thrusting hike in property tax on people who are already in trouble due to spiralling prices. He advised the Palike administration to work on bringing funds from the State government, reducing the administrative expenses, extracting money from the major tax defaulters, introducing advertisement policy, effective Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) policy, implementation of ‘Akrama Sakrama’ scheme and collection of betterment charges.

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