Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

TSU vows to take to the streets over energy price hikes

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) threatened yesterday to take to the streets if the government failed to help the public — especially small and medium businesses — cope with rising fuel and electricity prices.

TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told reporters that his party would invite small and medium enterprises to discuss the matter at a forum tomorrow. They would also request that the administration present concrete measures to help small and medium businesses cope with surging prices.

“Should they fail to meet our demands, we will team up with small and medium businesses as well as labor organizations to put pressure on the government,” Huang said. “We do not rule out the possibility of taking to the streets.”

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said it would raise electricity prices 12.6 percent on July 1 and another 12.6 percent in October.

Saying that small and medium businesses will be hardest hit by the two price increases, Huang said he feared a vast number of businesses would face bankruptcy and have to lay off employees.

Huang said the ministry estimated that the rises in electricity prices would cost each household an additional NT$1,056 each year. While the lowest-income families save an average of NT$183 each year, the electricity price hikes would leave them with a debt of NT$873, Huang said.

Huang called on the government to propose supplementary measures in response to remedy the situation. It could do like other countries — such as Japan, South Korea and the US — and offer tax rebates, he said.

Huang said the government could offer every person NT$7,500 in cash subsidies each year, raise the ceiling on income tax exemptions and give each tax payer a tax exemption of NT$7,500 in fuel and electricity expenses.

Huang also requested that the Executive Yuan re-examine the formula of increasing electricity prices and study the subsidy program for the armed forces and their families.

The government offers the armed forces and their families a 50 percent discount on their electricity expenses. The program costs the government about NT$700 million (US$23 million) annually, he said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top