Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Premier skewers DPP’s tax-refund proposal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday challenged a proposal by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus that half of the special budget to spur domestic demand be used to provide public tax refunds, saying that a giveaway would not help solve economic problems.

DPP Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) proposed on Monday that the NT$58.3 billion (US$1.9 billion) budget presented by the government to help local governments complete infrastructure projects and expand demand be doled out as tax refunds.

DPP legislative caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said that if the government used the money to provide tax refunds to 2.9 million low-income households, each would receive about NT$20,000, which would have an immediate impact on their financial situation.

“Since the new government came into office, gas and utility prices have kept climbing. Rather than waste the budget on numerous useless projects, the government should instead give the money to the people,” he said at the legislature yesterday.

Liu said the government’s debt had on average grown by between NT$100 million and NT$200 million each year and that part of the extra budget would run at a deficit.

It would therefore be illogical to give the money we borrowed to taxpayers, he said.

“I don’t think we will give a tax refund. The government’s financial situation does not allow us to take such action,” Liu said yesterday during a question-and-answer period at the legislature.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) lashed out at the DPP proposal, saying that Taiwan should not follow the example of South Korea, whose government borrowed US$328.5 million to provide tax refunds, a measure he said failed to improve the nation’s economy.

“We would be defrauding people if we borrowed money to give them a tax refund,” he said.

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