Wed, Sep 05, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Council blasted for expo subsidies amid cutbacks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Pavilion of Future, originally built for the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo, is shown in an undated photo provided by the Taipei Expo Park.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei Expo Park

The Council of Agriculture’s (COA) budget plan for next year shows that it has failed to protect Taiwanese farmers after the ministry trimmed spending on agricultural-related categories, but kept its subsidy to Taipei City intact, the DPP caucus said yesterday.

Almost 16 months after the Taipei International Flora Expo in Taipei ended — an event organized by the Taipei City Government — the council still allocated NT$220 million (US$7.3 million), part of a three-year, NT$660 million subsidy, to the city, DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

While the subsidy remained untouched, the budget for agricultural management was cut by 11.6 percent, and management expenditure for agriculture and food was axed by 27.3 percent, among others, he said.

It makes no sense to sacrifice farmers and fishermen and national agricultural development, Tsai said.

DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said there were two glaring flaws in the council’s budget statement.

“First, the subsidy to Taipei City was not cut while most of the other categories have seen a significant reduction. Second, the Taipei City Government is rich enough that it can offer subsidies to residents in southern Taiwan after they suffered a recent flood, but it is still being subsidized by the COA,” Wu said.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the council’s budget for scholarships available to the families of farmers and fishermen was cut from NT$1.56 billion last year to NT$1.52 billion next year.

“It’s unacceptable for us to see the government strip away subsidies from the poor and the disadvantaged while handing money to the rich,” Huang said.

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