Many things have been and will be said and written about Budget 2011. I just want to note that income taxes, and hence labour costs, have again gone up even though export-led growth seems to be our best hope of getting out of this mess.
Much has been said too about the political astuteness of the Green Party. They did make a mark on the 2011 budget, though. There are the limited increase in university registration fees, and the rumoured preference of Metro North over Dart Underground (see the CILT review for a different opinion).
A number of exemptions, reliefs and credits were removed from the income tax code. A new one was introduced: Income tax relief for energy efficient measures in houses. Up to 10,000 euro can be deducted at the standard rate, for a tax credit of up to 2,000 euro. The cost in 2011 (to be paid in 2012) is estimated to be 30 mln euro, so at least 15,000 households are expected to avail of this.
Note that the carbon tax is still there, and the subsidies for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy were not removed. We thus moved from triple regulation to quadruple regulation.
The capital allowance for energy efficiency equipment for firms has been extended too, at an estimated cost of 6 mln euro.
I would not have introduced those measures (+36 mln). I would have cut the subsidies for green energy (+170 mln). I would have removed the exemption of coal and peat from the carbon tax (+150 mln). 350 mln euro is not a lot, but every little helps.