BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged members of the City Council to immediately pass the long pending revenue measures to support their clamor for a significant increase in the city’s P1.72 billion 2017 budget so as not to incur a deficit by the end of next year.
The local chief executive pointed out the city’s existing real property and business taxes are considered by most government agencies as antiquated because the rates are no longer applicable during the present times and the prevailing situation.
“We agree to the proposal of the members of the local legislative body to increase the income statement of the city’s budget next year but they must also pass the necessary revenue measures that have been pendingbefore the council for several years now,” Domogan stressed.
He admitted the earlier proposals increasing the city’s real property and business taxes are relatively high, thus, the members of the local finance committee decided to significantly reduce the rates to cater to the clamor of various sectors that the proposed tax rates are excessive.
According to him the city is now lagging behind other highly urbanized cities in terms of budget and other key allocations for priority development projects as well as competitiveness because of its failure to adjust existing tax rates.
The local government was able to update its schedule of market values in 1996 while its business taxes were only revised in 2000, paving the way for the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) to declare that the city’s revenue measures are already obsolete.
Domogan claimed it is now time to amend the revenue measures so local legislators will not fear this issue will be used against them during elections.
The City Assessor’s Office already submitted its revised land valuation with a general increase of 10 percent which is now being readied for consideration by the Committee on Appropriations and Finance.
While the local government might not be able to work out an increase in the proposed budget next year, Domogan claimed the executive and legislative branches could settle for the enactment of a supplemental budget once the local legislative body shall pass the required revenue measures to support the proposed increase in the annual budget.
He explained increasing the budget without passing new revenue measures will be detrimental to the city’s financial performance and competitiveness, so the only available recourse for the city is to have new sources of revenues considering the existing ones are already maximized.
He said his position for reasonably increasing revenue should not be misunderstood because the taxes to be collected will be plowed back to the people through implementation of development projects and enhancing the delivery of basic services to the people.
By Dexter A. See