An “arrogant and tasteless” newspaper advertisement put out by the Taipei City Government was a bullying message to other cities and explained why a law regulating local revenues should be on the top of the legislative agenda, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.
The main advertisement message of “Sorry, we’re just that attractive” was “no different than bullying,” DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said about the advertisement highlighting Taipei’s rich social welfare resources over those of the other four special municipalities of Greater Kaohsiung, New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung and Greater Tainan.
The ad has been seen by some as Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) flaunting the city’s wealth and verbally bullying residents in the other four cities, he said.
It actually raised a deeper issue: the persistence of seriously imbalanced development between northern and southern Taiwan as well as the unfair allocation of government revenues, and reminded people why Taipei has been able to enjoy greater resources and funds than other cities, Lee said.
The “insensible” advertisement also explains why the DPP caucus has listed three bills — the Public Debt Act (公共債務法), the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法) and the Administrative Zoning Act (行政區劃法) — as priorities in the upcoming extra legislative session, he said.
The three bills, if passed, would improve local finances through a fairer distribution of the Tax Redistribution Fund (統籌分配款), but have been sitting idle in the legislature for over a year-and-a-half after the four cities were promoted to special municipalities in 2010, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.
“With insufficient funds from the central government and no autonomous power to impose taxes, local governments could only sit there and wait for bankruptcy,” she said.
DPP lawmaker Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said it was time to promote balanced regional development and local financial independence by amending the law.
“Under the current allocation scheme, Taipei will always be at the top of the class while the other special municipalities come second, third and fourth, and the remaining cities and counties lag far behind,” Wu said.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have both said the bills were unlikely to make it onto the legislative agenda, given their complexity.
The city’s Department of Information and Tourism, which paid for the ad promoting the raising of rental subsidies, came under criticism by netizens for being “too arrogant.”
In response, Hau said that the cost of living and housing prices in Taipei differed from those in other cities and the city government’s decision to raise housing subsidies was appropriate, as it would help young people or disadvantaged families in the city.
While inspecting the future site of the Hsiang Shan MRT Station on the MRT metro line being constructed through Xinyi District (信義), Hau said the rise in rental subsidies was in accordance with the needs of Taipei.
It is an appropriate move that takes into account the housing situation across the city, Hau said.
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
PROTECTION LACKING: DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu said that currently, victims cannot legally force online platforms to remove sexual videos or imagery of them A bill to prevent the nonconsensual distribution of imagery or videos of sexual acts between adults on Friday passed a first reading and has been forwarded to a Legislative Yuan committee to be discussed. The bill was jointly proposed by 18 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators. It seeks to promote gender equality, uphold righteous and moral social conduct and to protect the privacy of individuals, all of which would help prevent incidents similar to South Korea’s “Nth Room” case, the proposal said. The Nth Room involves a criminal investigation into the distribution of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app from 2018 to