Sat, Jan 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Budget cuts decried by the Cabinet

SIZEABLE DECREASE The Executive Yuan said that the move by the Legislative Yuan would hinder the nation's effort to implement needed government reform

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators slump in their chairs yesterday morning after a marathon session to complete business before the end of the current session of the Legislative Yuan.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Executive Yuan yesterday said it was disappointed over the cuts the legislature made to the annual budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Officials were also upset by the legislature's failure to pass the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法).

Cabinet spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that the sizeable budget cuts would have a negative impact on several government policies, including the planned privatization of several state-owned businesses.

Chen noted that the cut was the biggest in the past three years, and that the reduction in forecast income that would result from the postponement of the sale of state-owned businesses would make it more difficult to implement needed reforms.

Chen also said that the reduction in the budget for the Ministry of Economic Affairs' technology project program would interfere with national development.

"Besides, the efficiency bonuses for 200,000 civil servants have been cut, and this will damage their morale and administrative efficiency. Further, the 30 percent cut in the outsourcing fee for all government agencies will also seriously affect administrative operations," Chen said.

Chen said that cuts to the Grand Justices' "professional reimbursement fund" was "apparent political revenge" and "an attempt to interfere with judicial independence via political force." Chen said the cut violated the Constitution, which stipulates that judges' salaries can not be cut without the passage of a statute requiring the cuts.

In response to cuts in the "special expense funds" for Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) and Government Information Office (GIO) Director-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Chen said that Legislators should not have cut the fees simply out of dislike toward the officials.

Chairman of the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Yeh Chun-jung (葉俊榮) showed regret over the failed passage of the organic law of the Executive Yuan.

"The governing and opposition camps have laid the tracks of government restructuring, and are waiting for the restructuring train to arrive at the platform. But it what they did not expect was that when the restructuring train was just about to arrive, it stopped. It feels just like being doused in a sudden downpour of cold rain," Yeh said.

Yeh said that the government would work hard again to push through the bill in the next legislature.

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