Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Special budget and act amendment top legislature's agenda

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A special budget for the government’s stimulus package and an amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) will be high on the agenda when the legislature’s new session starts tomorrow.

Last year the government proposed an economic stimulus package budget of NT$150.6 billion to be used this year to expand public infrastructure projects, but the budget was cut by NT$4 million during its first reading.

A consensus was reached by the ruling and opposition parties that the budget should be passed by April 10, but with many spending items in the budget request still requiring further discussion, legislators are pressed for time to pass a third reading of the budget by the deadline.

The amendment to the Local Government Act is aimed at better utilizing state-owned land and resources, while balancing regional and urban rural development by adjusting the administrative organizations nationwide.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has previously said that he hoped the amendment would be passed by the middle of next month to pave the way for the integration of Taichung City and Taichung County, upgrading their status to a special municipality.

Although the Democratic Progressive Party is not opposed to the proposed amendment, what concerns it is that the merger of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County should be implemented at the same time and by the same standards that are applied to Taichung, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said.

Wang said he would therefore convene a negotiation process to settle issues or disputes between the two camps in the hope that the law revision can smoothly clear the legislative floor.

As to the effective dates of the proposed restructuring, the Executive Yuan has suggested that they should be done to coincide with the end of the terms of local government elected officials. If that is the case, the terms of the Taichung City mayor, the Taichung County commissioner, as well as village and township chiefs, could be extended to Dec. 24, 2010.

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