Amendments to impose a capital gains tax on securities transactions are unlikely to clear the legislature before it goes into recess next month, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Democratic Progressive Party whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday.
The Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus would try to move the legislation in the current session given President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) determination to impose the tax.
However, Wang told reporters that Ma had neither mentioned the planned tax during their meetings in the past week nor was the proposal likely to be approved in time.
As many as 10 versions of the proposal are being discussed in the legislature’s Finance Committee, Wang said, and if the final proposal failed to clear the plenary session to be scheduled for party negotiation, it would take at least one month to pass the amendment.
“It is highly questionable that the bill will pass in the current session,” he said.
The controversial proposal has been blamed for record low stock trading volumes and a shaky stock market in the past month, and has fueled criticism of Ma’s performance.
However, the KMT caucus is under pressure to support Ma’s policies.
Meanwhile, other reports suggested that the caucus was ready to pass an amendment to lift the ban on imports of meat containing residues of the controversial livestock feed additive ractopamine on June 12.
If passed, the amendments would allow US beef imports containing the residue, a development that Ma and the KMT said was crucial to the resumption of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations between Taiwan and the US.
KMT caucus chief secretary Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said the caucus prefers that the capital gains tax proposal be discussed by the Finance Committee next week, adding that Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如) would also seek support from KMT lawmakers, in particular those who opposed the tax, in a caucus meeting.
Ker said the DPP would submit its own tax proposal to the Procedure Committee on Monday and planned to hold a public hearing next week, adding that a bill would be “impossible” to pass before the recess unless an extra session is held.
The DPP caucus urged KMT lawmakers to “stand their ground and refrain from committing political suicide for Ma,” Ker said.