Tue, Sep 27, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Farm subsidies polarize lawmakers

FORGOTTEN PROMISE:DPP lawmakers questioned Wu Den-yih’s claim that government finances were not strong enough to fulfill his campaign pledge of a NT$10,000 subsidy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The debate on whether to increase subsidies for elderly farmers took center stage yesterday at the legislature’s question-and-answer session on the government’s budget for next year.

Despite divisions on the rate by which the current subsidy of NT$6,000 a month should be -increased and on whether to exclude rich farmers from receiving the subsidy, no lawmaker speaking on the floor opposed raising the subsidy.

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) remained tight-lipped on the government’s position, saying a decision would be made after considering the nation’s fiscal status and fairness in subsidy allocation among various demographic groups.

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers accused Wu of backtracking from the campaign pledge he made when he ran for a legislative seat in Nantou County in 2007 that the subsidy should be raised to NT$10,000.

“Have you forgotten about this? Now that you are the premier and can deliver the promise, how come you oppose the idea?” DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) asked.

Wu asked Lee not to “deliberately ignore” the precondition for implementing the platform, which was “when the national treasury is in a good financial position.”

“The financial status improved, but it is still not enough,” Wu said.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) asked Wu if this was because “farmers contributed less to the country,” so their monthly subsidy remained at NT$6,000, while civil servants received a 3 percent pay raise on July 1 and retired veterans will get an increase of NT$600 in their monthly pension beginning in January.

“Beginning next year, a veteran will receive NT$14,150 a month. About 2,500 of them live most of the time in China. Is this what you called fairness?” Chiu said.

Lin Pin-kuan (林炳坤) of the Non-partisan Solidarity Union asked Wu to also consider raising subsidies for disabled persons and low--income families.

Lin said the party caucus would also propose an amendment to the Temporary Statute Regarding the Welfare Pension of Senior Farmers (老年農民福利津貼暫行條例) to compete with the DPP that suggested a subsidy of NT$7,000 and another amendment by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和), who asked for NT$10,000.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) suggested including an exclusion clause in the statute to “ensure fairness” by preventing rich farmers from receiving the extra subsidy.

This story has been viewed 2847 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top