Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Shih defends budget plan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) yesterday defended the government's plan to distribute the budget earmarked for local government public construction between counties and cities based on population size.

“It’s the fairest way to parcel out the budget. The Executive Yuan treated [each county and city] equally without discrimination,” Shih said.

She made the remarks in response to local chiefs who criticized the government over the plan passed at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The Cabinet approved a proposal that will give a total of NT$58.3 billion (US$1.912 billion) to the nation’s counties and cities, with each receiving the funds proportional to its population size.

The plan was attacked by several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) local chiefs, including Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who suggested the proposed distribution of the funds was unfair.

She said that under the plan, Taipei County would get NT$9.6 billion while her city would only receive NT$3.8 billion.

Such an allocation would only further widen the gap between northern and southern Taiwan and urban and rural areas, she said.

According to the proposal, the Executive Yuan will review each local government’s list of major construction projects before appropriating funds.

Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) said the central government had not handled the case fairly as “local governments led by the DPP were not notified of the need to prepare the list until Tuesday afternoon while KMT local governments were told earlier.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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