Wed, Jun 08, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Hsieh rebukes Lee's criticism of tax plan

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday responded to former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) criticism that the government's plan to increase taxes will deepen the gap between the rich and the poor. The premier said this would not happen.

Last week, Lee complained about the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration's plan to raise the value-added tax from 13.6 percent to 15 percent gradually within the next three fiscal years during a lecture at the "Lee Teng-hui School."

"Chen said that the tax system needs to be fixed. But in my opinion, he is making the system go from bad to worse," Lee said.

Lee said that the president's new policy to increase taxes will actually deepen the gap between the rich and the poor and the plan "ridiculous," Lee said.

"If the Democratic Progressive Party government cannot do a good job, maybe we should give somebody else a chance," he said.

To carry out Chen's new policy, the Cabinet established a special task force on Monday and Hsieh said that it will meet some time during the week.

"I think former president Lee misunderstood our policy," Hsieh said. "What he complained about [increasing the wealth gap] will not happen."

According to the premier, the main themes of the new tax plan are to balance the rich-poor gap and increase tax revenue to fund social programs.

"The new policy is meant to balance the wealth differences between the rich and the poor. When the government increases its capital, it will be able to spend more on the health insurance system as well as many social security-related programs," Hsieh said.

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