Rates rise for most homeowners
Nearly two-thirds of homeowners will see their bill for rates and government rent rise by an average of $40 a month after the latest revaluation exercise.
Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said the rateable values of properties, based on the rents owners could charge if they let them, had fallen by an average of 39 per cent since 1999-2000.
Mr Tang said the increase in the rateable value of residential property, the first in six years, had averaged 7 per cent.
While the proportion of rateable value owners pay in rates will stay at 5 per cent in the next financial year, he estimated that 65 per cent of ratepayers would pay around $40 a month more than this year, yielding $1.1 billion in additional revenue for the government.
Asked why the government did not reduce rates to below 5 per cent of rateable value in light of the improvement in public finances, Mr Tang said he did not see any rationale for diverging from market trends.
'I don't want to nurture a dependence mentality whereby the government would provide relief measures whenever there is a rise in tax and levies,' Mr Tang said.