Civic Issues
The proposed tax hike is expected to fill the BBMP coffers with an additional Rs 500 crore.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s proposed decision to hike the property tax of residential properties by 20% and that of commercial buildings by 25% may not see the light of day.

“When the subject comes to the BBMP Council meeting, we will oppose it strongly. First, they have to get it approved by the council, then it will go to the Urban Development Ministry in the state government. Only then can it be implemented. Since we won’t support this, this can’t be implemented,” Padmanabha Reddy, the Leader of Opposition in the BBMP Council, told TNM.

The BJP has a simple majority in the BBMP Council but the Mayor and Deputy Mayor positions are with the Congress and JD(S) due to the different voting rule for the BBMP Mayoral polls. While the council is made up of ward councillors, all MLAs, MLCs and MPs residing in Bengaluru have a vote. By virtue of this, Congress-JD(S) have been in power since 2015.

The tax hike has been in the making since late 2018, in the hopes of increasing BBMP’s revenue by an additional Rs 500 crore. The last tax hike was in 2016 when property tax went up by a similar 20% for residential and 25% for non-residential properties in the city. The BBMP's tax collection went up to Rs 1,725 crore in the process.

Speaking on this earlier, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad had said the BBMP Council was well within its right to increase the property tax every three years as per the Karnataka Municipal Act.

However, others have also pointed out that instead of hiking the property tax and burdening honest taxpayers, BBMP should concentrate on recovering tax and arrears for consistent tax defaulters.

Despite its many claims, the BBMP had failed in its target of collecting Rs 3,100 crore worth of property tax in its previous fiscal ending in March. It had collected Rs 2,510 crore compared to Rs 2,170 crore it had collected in its previous fiscal.

Commenting on this, Padmanabha Reddy said, “It was the failure of the ruling party to collect the pending taxes.”

TNM had earlier reported how Government of India-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), the state-run Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, and government-owned telecommunications company BSNL were among the top tax defaulters. Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun has asked eight BBMP Zonal Commissioners to seize immovable properties. Other top defaulters were big real estate and corporate companies.