Justification sought on Tax Code revision
The city council has asked the City Treasury Office to further justify its request for the body to pass an ordinance that sought to amend Baguio’s more than 20-year-old Tax Ordinance.
During their special session on April 13, members of the city council said they need data that would serve as their basis in facilitating the approval of the proposal to adjust the fees collected under the Tax Code.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier asked the council to give preference to the passage of the proposed amendment of the Tax Ordinance.
Councilor Peter Fianza said the council should understand first why the city government needs to amend its Tax Ordinance so that members would also know how to explain to stakeholders when the proposal is ripe for public consultation.
He said while it is given that the proposed amendment will involve increase in taxes, fees, and other charges, this must have a basis, which must be presented to the public to convince them on why the increase is needed.
The council wants the CTO to present the percentage in the increase of taxes and other fees, projection on how much the city government will collect from the adjustment, and how it will impact on the stakeholders, among other things.
“We want to be apprised of the effects of the proposed amendment. How will it affect stakeholders, how many percent is the increase, what is the projection of your office on how much will be collected from the increase compared to how much is being collected under the present ordinance? We need all these figures so that we can deliberate, or at least we know the impact of this proposed ordinance,” Fianza said.
Assistant City Treasurer Fernando Ragma, Jr. said the data requested was not yet available, but he added the proposed amendment will definitely increase the revenue of the city government.
He added it is high time for Baguio to amend its Tax Ordinance, which was approved in 2000, to make it responsive to the present.
Councilor Vladimir Cayabas asked the CTO to present a comparison of the taxes currently collected with that of the taxes to be collected under the proposed ordinance for appreciation and understanding.
Councilor Michael Lawana shared the view that the council needs to understand the basis of the tax percentage contained in the proposed amendment.
As an example, he said the proponents must explain why the percentage of tax increase imposed on establishments engaged in food business vary from those that provide accommodation services.
“We need to understand the basis because this will be the first questions that the public will ask if ever, we present this for consultation,” he said.
The city council will again invite the CTO and members of the Local Finance Committee to guide the body on how contents of the proposed amendment to the Tax Ordinance. – Jane B. Cadalig