Tue, Dec 30, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Wang urges parties to reach consensus on budget proposal

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the legislature scheduled to go into winter recess in two weeks, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday called on the three party caucuses to reach a consensus as soon as possible on the central government’s fiscal budget for next year.

“Everything is negotiable. Lawmakers have initiated about 2,700 proposals related to the government’s fiscal budget request. It is very difficult to complete negotiation of all the proposals within a short period of time,” Wang said. “Everyone should sit down and talk.”

The central government’s budget request for the next fiscal year totaled NT$1.8 trillion (NT$54.5 billion).

Legislators had agreed to cut it by about NT$3.9 billion, or 0.169 percent of the request, before allowing the budget proposal to pass a preliminary review by the Finance Committee on Nov. 26.

However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus found the scale of the cut unsatisfactory, saying it was the smallest in history.

The DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have since been submitting tit-for-tat proposals relating to the budget, with the DPP having put forth about 900, while the KMT has initiated about 700.

The 2,700 proposals referred to by the speaker also include proposals by the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union caucus and the legislative committees.

The DPP has proposed cutting the total budget request by about NT$65 billion, while the KMT would like it cut by NT$14.6 billion.

The legislature is scheduled to complete its review of the budget request before legislators leave for the winter recess on Jan. 13.

If lawmakers fail to reach a consensus on the proposals, they will have to vote on each one.

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