Thu, Dec 18, 2008 - Page 3 News List

City, county mergers must be simultaneous: Chen Chu

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Flanked by Democratic Progressive Party colleagues, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, center, holds a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday calling for Kaohsiung City and County and Taichung City and County to be merged and promoted to the status of special municipalities at the same time in 2010.

PHOTO: CNA

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday called on the central government to allow Kaohsiung City and County to merge at the same time as that of Taichung City and County by 2010.

“To reorganize the nation’s land and ensure balanced regional development, [I] insist that the merger between Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County be completed [around the same time] as the merger between Taichung City and Taichung County,” she said after a meeting at the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee in Taipei.

The Cabinet approved a proposed amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) during its weekly meeting on Nov. 20, allowing cities and counties to merge into special municipalities.

The act only allows cities or counties to become a special municipality.

The Cabinet also said the merger between Taichung City and Taichung County was expected to be completed by 2010.

Chen said the Cabinet’s amendment was tailor-made to help Taichung City and county become a special municipality.

However, the proposal failed to thoroughly review the development of the nation and to propose a set of supplementary measures and could end up widening the gap between central and southern parts of the country, she said.

Chen also urged the government to consider amending the Law Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法), which regulates the financial obligations of the central and local governments, given Taichung’s planned merger.

The law stipulates that special municipalities — currently only Taipei and Kaohsiung cities — should share 43 percent of funds allocated by the central government for local governments. The money each special municipality receives is proportional to its size and population.

“Any adjustment to the administrative divisions would have an impact on the proportion of the funds allocated by the central government. It would influence the financial status of local governments,” she said.

Chen said Kaohsiung City and county were already cooperating on a number of sectors.

“[The central government] should not sacrifice the rights of people in southern Taiwan for the sake of political gain,” she said.

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