Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors yesterday berated city government officials over a proposed property tax cut that would reduce costs for construction companies selling houses.
During a question-and-answer session with Department of Finance Director Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮), KMT Taipei City Councilor Wu Shih-cheng (吳世正) ripped into a proposal by the department that says the policy would motivate firms to sell houses more quickly.
“It is difficult to determine whether selling houses means stockpiling them. The rule was proposed to prevent high tax rates from negatively affecting the real-estate market and to motivate builders to sell houses more quickly,” the document says.
Wu criticized what he said was fallacious reasoning in the proposal, saying that the proposed tax reduction would eliminate motivation to sell houses at reduced prices, preventing Taipei’s steep property prices from declining.
The tax cut would save construction companies about NT$95 million (US$2.86 million) within the first year of its implementation, thereby easing the financial burden they carry, he said.
Construction companies have withheld 6,364 houses in Taipei, Wu said, adding that the city government should pressure the firms to sell the houses as quickly as possible, giving opportunities to the 20 percent of Taipei residents who do not own one.
KMT Taipei City Councilor Li Keng Kuei-fang (厲耿桂芳) said former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) raised property taxes in Taipei last year to drive real-estate prices down, but Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has run counter to Hau’s policy by attempting to push the tax cut through.
Li Keng said that Ko in January reportedly met with representatives from 15 construction companies, which paved the way for a tax reduction.
Li Keng said the tax cut is counterproductive to a city government revenue goal for next year — to boost revenue generated from land appreciation taxation from NT$17.6 billion to NT$18.2 billion — as it would slow the real-estate market, resulting in fewer transactions.
KMT Taipei City Councilor Chen Li-hui (陳孋輝) said that Su should submit a roster of officials involved in wrtiting the tax cut policy and deliver it to her office by Tuesday next week.
The Taipei City Council procedure section said the proposed reduction would be reviewed on Wednesday next week at the earliest.
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