Wed, Aug 15, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Premier says local government must stop being greedy

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) urged local government leaders to cease self-serving actions and think of the problems facing the central government in the face of falling tax revenues and rising spending.

Chang's comments came one day after the mayors of Taipei and Kaohsiung and the Taipei County commissioner protested the Executive Yuan's decision for the three areas to share 43 percent of the centrally allotted tax revenues. Taipei and Kaohsiung's share of the revenue has significantly dropped as a result of the decision.

Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) has acknowledged that the county would get a lot more money from the central government now that it is the third administrative area under the direct jurisdiction of the Cabinet -- but said the money would not be enough to help the county to balance next year's budget.

Chou said the Cabinet should not have used this year's tax revenue -- NT$150 billion (US$4.54 billion) -- as the basis for drawing up next year's budget given that finance officials have said centrally allotted tax revenues next year would be NT$250 billion.

Chang blamed the dispute on the legislature's passage of an amendment in May to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法), allowing Taipei County to become a "quasi-special municipality," saying that lawmakers failed to amend the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法) to reapportion the division of tax revenues.

That law says the special municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung are entitled to 43 percent of the centrally allotted tax revenues.

Chang said Taichung, Tainan and other cities and counties have voiced a strong desire to upgrade their status to obtain a larger share of centrally allotted tax revenues.

Chang said, however, that no individual or administrative districts should try to "take more than their fair share."

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