Government agencies are seeking legislative approval of their budget requests for this year before the winter recess starts on Jan. 12, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip said there was a better chance of success if disputed parts of their budget requests could be “frozen” rather than “cut.”
The central government has presented an overall budget request of NT$1.73 trillion (US$54.1 billion). Because many funding proposals have yet to gain the support of Democratic Progressive Party legislators, the KMT caucus is seeking consensus on the budget through negotiation, saying that its approach could expedite the process.
KMT caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said that while the caucus would not be overprotective of the government in screening the budgets, legislators should carefully evaluate the purposes of funding requests before deciding on whether to freeze or cut them.
The best way to ensure effective passage and implementation of the budget plans, Lu said, would be to pass the budget but freeze contentious funding requests until the government agencies provide clear justifications for their plans.
The KMT caucus has proposed a freeze of NT$96 billion in requests, or 5.3 percent of the total budget, while making minor cuts of NT$1.7 billion, accounting for 0.1 percent of the total.
DPP caucus whip Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said the DPP would only make cuts where it believed there was overlap or where funding requests were overstated.
The DPP caucus has demanded that proposed spending in the overall budget submitted by the central government be cut by 2.9 percent.
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