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Ireland Is The Next Domino to Fall in Europe's Turn Against Austerity

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DUBLIN (AP/The Blaze) -- When voters in Greece and France got the chance, they dealt a resounding "No!" to parties backing austerity measures. The Irish, who labor under an income tax rate 48 percent, could be next to give the European Union's austerity plan a black eye.

“The Irish government, which has been trying to bridge a big fiscal gap after the financial crisis, raised the top rate by one percentage point for a third-consecutive year in 2011,” CNBC reports.

“The country’s top marginal rate kicks in at about $43,900 of taxable income. Citizens also have to pay an additional social security tax of 4 percent. The government increased tax rates that apply to gifts and inheritances as well as capital gains from 25 percent to 30 percent in December,” CNBC adds.

Ireland is the only EU member putting the agreement to a national vote.

A May 31 referendum asks the public to approve an EU treaty that aims to control nations' deficits and longer-term debts. Critics, however, say the treaty ignores the competing need to stimulate growth.

Analysts say an Irish rejection of the treaty, combined with Francois Hollande's victory as France's president and a hard-left turn in Greece's parliamentary elections, could force the continent to shift in favor of less cutting and greater "investment in growth." And by "investment in growth" they mean "more government spending."

As part of the proposed austerity measures, the Irish government has introduced a homeowner tax of 100 euros or $132 per household tax this year, accroding to CNBC.

“But the government has struggled to collect the fee with only one-third of homeowners paying up by the March 31st deadline,” the report adds.

Thousands of protesters have demonstrated against the new property tax in Ireland’s capital, Dublin, in the last two months. The tax is expected to rise dramatically next year once Ireland starts to vary the charge based on a property’s value.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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