Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Voucher plan will face review

WORKING TOGETHER After earlier suggesting the consumer voucher legislation forgo a preliminary review, the KMT compromised during cross-party negotiations

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday agreed to submit legislation proposed by the Cabinet to legitimize its consumer voucher plans to a committee review.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus, which previously said it would allow the bill to skip a preliminary review, compromised during cross-party negotiations.

KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) told a press conference later yesterday that the caucus made a concession to show its respect for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus’ request that the bill be reviewed.

Lin said the bill was expected to clear the legislative floor next Friday at the earliest.

The Cabinet submitted the bill to the legislature after Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) announced on Tuesday last week that the government planned to issue consumer vouchers valued at NT$3,600 to every citizen by taking out loans of up to NT$82.9 billion (US$2.5 billion).

The bill, if passed, would exempt the proposal from Article 23 of the Budget Law (預算法), which stipulates that public funds raised by loans must be spent on capital investments, and Article 4 of the Public Debt Act (公共債務法), which imposes a ceiling on loans.

The bill would also empower tax authorities to inspect the use and receipt of the vouchers. Those who refuse to be examined or present false information be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$30,000.

Meanwhile, the 69 legislators present during yesterday’s plenary session voted 46 to 23 in favor of allowing a KMT proposal that would increase the ceiling on the government’s budget on increasing investment in public works by NT$500 billion to skip committee review and be referred to cross-party negotiation.

The bill, proposed by KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔), seeks to amend the Special Statute for Increasing Investment in Public Construction (擴大公共建設投資特別條例), which was previously proposed by the former DPP administration.

The statute stipulates that government can increase its investment in public construction projects by a maximum NT$500 billion.

Yang’s proposal seeks to raise the amount by another NT$500 billion in the next fiscal year.

The proposal also extends a deadline for making the investments from Dec. 31 next year to Dec. 31, 2012.

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