Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP caucus speaks out over fuel price increase

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Wong Chin-chu, left, Pan Meng-an, second left, Kuan Bi-ling, second right, and Yu Jan-daw protest against the goverment's plan to raise fuel prices in a single increment in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus said yesterday that it is opposed to the new administration's planned fuel price hike next month without appropriate accompanying measures to mitigate the effects of the hike on the public.

Members of the caucus made the remarks at a news conference held to address the announcement made by the Ministry of Economic Affairs a day earlier that domestic gasoline prices will be raised as early as next month at a single stroke rather than incrementally.

The ministry said the move will be made to reflect skyrocketing international crude oil prices.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that at this sensitive time of high inflation, more than 2 million Taiwanese already spend about 92 percent of their incomes on daily living expenses.

Too great an increase in fuel prices will add a heavy burden to the shoulders of people who are already struggling to get by, she said at a joint press conference with DPP deputy whip Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) and DPP Legislator Yu Jan-daw (余政道).

Kuan pointed out that the administration has several tools at its disposal to mitigate the effects of its planned fuel price hike. For example, she said, the administration could reduce the gasoline and diesel commodity tax to lessen the blow.

By cutting the gasoline commodity tax from NT$6.83 per liter to NT$3.41 per liter, an increase of NT$5.2 per liter in the price of gasoline would only translate into people having to pay an extra NT$1.79 per liter at the pump, she said.

Kuan and her DPP colleagues said the gasoline commodity tax cut, as well as other appropriate measures, should be implemented along with the fuel price hike in order to lessen the impact on the public.

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