The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday suggested that a proposed amendment which would regulate allocation of state funds should be listed at the top of the agenda in the upcoming extra legislative session.
The party made the call at a press conference held under the title: “Sorry, we’re just that poor” — a name meant to parody a newspaper ad recently printed by the Taipei City Government which read: “Sorry, we’re just that attractive.” The advertisement was designed to highlight the capital’s impressive social welfare resources compared with the country’s other four special municipalities, New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), joined by the party’s mayors and county commissioners, said that the legislature had passed a law in 2009 which allowed various cities and counties to be combined and become special municipalities. It had then passed a resolution demanding that the Executive Yuan submit a proposed amendment to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法) within two months. Nearly three years have passed since and the proposed amendment has still not cleared the legislature, Su said.
Su said unfairness in the distribution of national finances has resulted in inequalities among people in a multitude of ways, such as in conditions for giving birth, dealing with sickness and aging, access to education and social welfare.
He added that because the local governments have no autonomous authority to impose taxes, they have been facing financial problems. They are scrambling to pay the salaries of local government employees, and they certainly do not have the cash to promote local development programs, he said.
Su said his party had therefore suggested the proposed amendment to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures be listed as one of the priorities in the upcoming extra legislative session, slated to take place next week.
The proposed amendment must include a mechanism that allows central government and local governments to negotiate revenue distribution equally, Su said, adding that the party had proposed that local governments should also be allocated greater levels of funding from tax-redistribution income.
Issues such as balanced regional development and local financial independence should also be highlighted in the draft, Su added.