|Lack of Data, Implementing Guidelines on Proposed RPT Measure on Senior Citizen Discount Caused Veto|
Those legislators who were pushing for the enactment of the proposed ordinance providing real property tax discounts for senior citizens and solo parents did not provide guidelines and clear implementing mechanisms to provide an orderly system for implementing it. There was also lack of data on the number of senior citizens and solo parents qualified to avail of such incentives, making impact impossible to calculate accurately at this time.
The proposed ordinance was passed by the City Council in late December 2016 and its proponents were pushing for its implementation beginning January 1, 2017. Administering a tax measure without accurate facts and figures and clear guidelines would have resulted in chaos, Mayor Herbert Bautista said in flag raising ceremonies on January 16, 2017.
He said it is easy to grandstand and play politics. He also accepted the situation that he has been pilloried by several sectors, including local politicians, because of his veto on the bill. It is harder to face the truth and stand ground on the fact that the proposed ordinance had critical gaps for it to be implemented in an orderly manner.
Bautista is not against the ordinance per se. He believes that implementing it in 2018, instead of 2017, would provide enough time for such data to be researched on and verified, and for clear guidelines of implementation to be in place. It would also provide sufficient time for the City government to do a public information campaign on this measure.
A measure affecting real property tax (RPT) collections would also have an effect on the Special Education Fund, which is 1% of RPT. The Division of City Schools of Quezon City reports a deficiency of 250 classrooms, to be able to accommodate all of the city’s public school enrollees within a desirable student to classroom ratio. Quezon City has the largest public school population in the country at more than 400,000 enrolled annually. Any proposed discounts on RPT should also take this impact into account.