Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Blue lawmakers cut Presidential Office's budget

NEGOTIATED DEAL The lawmakers reduced the president's `state affairs fund' by NT$20 million as well as reducing outlays for the next inauguration

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday slashed the Presidential Office's expenditure request for next year, including the president's "state affairs fund" by NT$20 million (US$610,000).

The budget will now proceed to a legislative session for final approval.

The opposition-dominated committee voted nine to seven in favor of a proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to cut the NT$50 million "state affairs fund" to NT$30 million.

The vice president will have a NT$2.74 million "special allowance fund" while the Presidential Office secretary-general will have NT$3.38 million.

In return, the Presidential Office agreed to let the committee cut the expenses allocated for the inauguration of the new president and vice president to NT$50 million. The Presidential Office had originally requested NT$99.5 million for the event, not including reception and decoration fees.

The consensus was reached by committee members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and KMT during a cross-party negotiation presided over by KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進).

The DPP side was led by Deputy Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

The Presidential Office has estimated next year's revenues at more than NT$817,000 and expenditures at NT$1.3 billion.

The expense figures represent an increase of 16.9 percent from last year.

Among the major expenses is next May's presidential inauguration ceremony. The office estimated the ceremony would cost NT$99.5 million, plus NT$14 million for the reception and NT$4 million for decorations.

The committee also froze the budget for senior presidential advisors and national policy advisors -- a total of NT$71 million.

The committee asked the Presidential Office to speed up efforts to legalize the positions and agreed to unfreeze the budget after the office delivers a comprehensive report on the progress of legislation.

While the Presidential Office asked for NT$14.8 million for research and development, the committee trimmed the request by NT$4 million.

It also cut the budget allocated for press releases and public relations by NT$4.99 million.

Revenues of other agencies that are supervised by the Presidential Office -- the National Security Council (NSC), Academia Sinica, Academia Historica and Taiwan Historica -- were projected at NT$114 million with expenditures totaling NT$11 billion.

The legislative committee slashed Taiwan Historica's budget by NT$2 million, although it approved the budgets of the NSC and Academia Historica.

The legislature's Technology and Information Committee is scheduled to review Academia Sinica's budget tomorrow.

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