Thu, Oct 18, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Special allowance draws criticism

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) came under attack yesterday over a steep increase in his special allowance fund following the county's upgrading to the status of special municipality.

Quoting next year's budget plan presented by the Taipei County Government, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said at a news conference that Chou's special allowance fund next year would rise to NT$200,000 from NT$88,000 per month.

The new amount would be higher than that granted to many other senior government officials, despite the fact that Chou's approval ratings are among the lowest in the country, Lin said.

She said that most of the extra funds allocated to the Taipei County Government following the upgrade on Oct. 1 would go straight into Chou's pockets.

Referring to a recent ruling by the Taipei District Court in former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) corruption case, which stated that special allowance funds for public officials are considered subsidies, Lin said the increase in Chou's special allowance fund was tantamount to the Taipei magistrate giving himself a 227 percent salary raise.

Lin said Chou's monthly special allowance of NT$200,000 was even higher than that of the vice president and heads of the Legislative, Executive, Control and Examination yuans, as well as that of the heads of central government ministries.

"Has the Taipei County government invested enough resources in education and policing?" she asked.

"If not, then why has the commissioner decided to increase his own special allowance fund?" she said.

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