Mayor to make another go at elusive tax reforms

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan will make another go at implementing his sought-after tax reforms in his last term as chief executive of this city.

The mayor during the department heads meeting last Monday asked the city council anew to act on the pending the proposed increase in business and realty taxes stressing its utmost urgency.

The mayor has been calling for speedy action on the tax proposals stressing the city’s obligation to implement the increase after years of stalling to make the antiquated rates attuned with the times and to comply with the requirements of the law.

“No less than the Bureau of Local Government Finance has been pointing out that we have been remiss in our responsibility to update our land tax schedule and this has also been highlighted in the low score we have been getting in the economic dynamism component of our yearly competitiveness ranking,” the mayor said.

The city needs to update its schedule of fair market values of real properties which remained unchanged since 1996 making the city non-compliant with the New Local Government Code or the Republic Act No. 7160 provision mandating local government units to undertake a general revision of real property tax valuation every three years.

It was assured that a minimal assessment level will be recommended to temper the expected huge increase in the market value as a result of the city’s passing up on several revision terms since 1996.

The mayor in March last year submitted to the city council the proposed updated schedule of market values for real property taxation which has passed review by the BLGF for the aldermen’s consideration and enactment into an ordinance.

The city is also eyeing a 10 percent increase in business taxes under Tax Ordinance No. 2000-01 including city market rental and fees and garbage charges which were last adjusted in 2001 or 13 years ago.

A copy of the proposed amendments to Tax Ordinance No. 2000-001 to replace the initial adjustments proposed in 2011 has also been submitted by the mayor April last year.

“Public hearings had been conducted with the concerned sectors so I think we can now act on the proposals, not exactly as proposed but what they perceive as reasonable rates based on the outcome of the hearings,” the mayor said.

He expressed confidence that Baguio residents will be fair enough to consider the adjustments as long as these are realistic and justifiable and are being used for their intended purpose.

Apart from the revenue measures, the mayor also pitched for the proposed policy reforms to update the current levels of garbage and sewerage fees.

The mayor said these tax reforms are needed to further improve the revenue standing of the city and fund priority development projects in the pipeline./Aileen P. Refuerzo

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