Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers struggle to wrap up their work

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature yesterday cut about NT$110 billion from the government's expected annual income as estimated in the annual budget plan for this year, with NT$30 billion being tax income and NT$80 billion being income gained from selling state-own businesses shares. The legislature only cut about NT$331 billion in annual spending.

The legislature's uneven cuts result in a huge gap between the government's income and spending, which will make it difficult for the Executive Yuan to balance the budget this year.

To help the Executive Yuan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus may demand that the legislature reconsider its decision. The current legislature terminates today.

Meanwhile, the legislature yesterday accepted the report issued by the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee in the sitting.

The report, which concluded that the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not occur as reported and that the election might have been manipulated as a result, was arranged by the Procedure Committee on Tuesday for discussion in the sitting yesterday.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus requested that the report be returned to the Procedure Committee.

Deputy Legislative Speaker Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), who chaired the session, then decided to have legislators vote on the DPP's motion.

Pan-green legislators were outnumbered by pan-blue legislators, with 94 votes against the DPP's motion, 75 supporting it and one abstention out of the 170 legislators present.

The report was then accepted by the floor.

Meanwhile, the legislature also approved the amendment to the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選罷法) to eliminate the old regulation that students and police could not run for public offices.

As of press time, the sitting was still in progress and there were 97 bills left to be handled, including the organic law of the national communication commission, the organic law of the Executive Yuan and the organic law of the Central Election Commission.

It is likely that the floor will continue to meet throughout the night and finish the sitting at noon today to handle the bills.

Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) late last night expressed regret over the legislature's trimming the government's annual revenue request by NT$110 billion.

"It's bound to seriously affect the government's operations and have a negative impact on the nation's competitiveness rating and local financial markets," he said. "It's a clear violation of the Budget Law (預算法) to cause an imbalance between annual spending and income and ask the government to cut the expenditure by itself."

with additional reporting by staff reporter Ko Shu-ling

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