Thu, Dec 01, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Hsieh touts economic measures

STIMULUS PACKAGE The premier announced a slew of new economic initiatives, including a tax cut for poor couples and assistance for farmers

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Just ahead of Saturday's local government elections, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday announced a generous economic stimulus package, including a tax reduction for low-income couples, help for Aboriginal communities and assistance for the nation's farmers.

"We believe that these new rules will definitely help revitalize the market," Hsieh said. "I often say that we should have faith in ourselves, and I also hope that people believe that the government will do anything it takes to help, whenever necessary."

The premier made his remarks during the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, with tax measures as the focus.

Hsieh announced that for married couples, the tax-free salary threshold will increase from NT$67,000 (US$2,000) to NT$88,000, effective immediately. That means that couples whose combined annual income is below NT$88,000 will not be taxed at all. The threshold will be raised again to NT$92,000 beginning Jan 1. Also beginning next year, the tax-free threshold for single taxpayers will be raised from NT$74,000 to N$77,000 in annual income.

Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said that the premier's new tax measures would reduce government income, but help revitalize the economy.

"I have done a rough calculation and discovered that we will have at least NT$6 billion less in tax income by the end of 2007 after we carry out the new rules," Lin said. "However, the new rules will not only re-start the economy, but also jump start domestic business."

In addition to new tax rules, the Cabinet is also planning to help farmers make better use of their farms throughout the year.

"For those farms lying fallow, we can take advantage of them to grow other fruits or vegetables so that farmers will be able to earn more," the premier explained.

For Aboriginal communities, the Cabinet is planning to designate at least 15 locations as "Aboriginal tribe attractions" to attract more tourists. In addition, it has earmarked an NT$6.12 billion budget to help indigenous communities create more job opportunities. The Cabinet says this measure will create some 3,000 jobs.

Finally, Hsieh also announced that Lunar New Year cross-strait charter routes for next year will include Xiamen, and will be open to anyone who possesses valid visas for Taiwan and China. Total flights will also be increased from 48 to 72. The holiday falls between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13 next year.

Last year, flights back to Taiwan for the holiday only departed from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and were only open to Taiwanese investors, employees and their family members.

also see story:

Economic summit coming soon: Hsieh

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