Dithering on whether to hike taxes for the 2015-16 fiscal, elected general body representatives of the cash-starved Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) adjourned a special meeting convened for tax hike proposal. The standing committee has turned down the proposal.
At the meeting, a few corporators urged those in charge of various parties in the civic body to think of increasing the tax considering the likely financial crisis the civic body may face the next financial year.
Leaders of the ruling NCP said it would think of supporting an increase in tax only if there a consensus among all political parties. NCP leader Subhashz Jagtap had an informal meet with the leaders of all political parties to know their stand on tax proposal.
Opposition MNS, BJP and Shiv Sena gave their nod to hike tax but the Congress did not support it.
“We approached party leaders to decide on tax proposal before the standing committee meeting. However, there was no discussion and the party opposed it in the standing committee. The party cannot change its stand now and allow an increase in tax,” said a Congress leader.
Leaders of various political parties tried to convince the Congress leaders on increasing the tax citing deteriorating financial health of the civic body. The Congress expressed its inability to change its stand.
Thus, it was decided to adjourn the special general body meeting to February 12. “The meeting should be adjourned as a mark of respect for actor Atmaram Bhende and other prominent personalities,” said Jagtap seeking adjournment.
The civic administration had proposed an 18 per cent hike in property tax, and doubling of the water cess for 2015-16. “There has been no hike in tax for the last three years and it has put a burden on the civic administration. The rejection of a tax hike proposal would mean revenue collection would be Rs 272 crore less than the estimated target of Rs 1,155 crore. The civic administration has prepared the budget estimate of Rs 3,997 crore for the next financial year, considering the hike in taxes,” civic officer said.
The standing committee rejected the tax hike proposal and urged the civic administration to increase collection through recovery from defaulters and bring evaders into the tax net. “Regular taxpayers should not be burdened by increasing the tax. Instead, recovery should be made from those not paying it,” civic standing committee chairperson Bapu Karne said.