With the second session of the eighth legislature scheduled to open on Tuesday next week, the long-stalled amendments to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenue and Expenditure (財政收支劃分法) and the Public Debt Act (公共債務法) that seek to bolster local finances are expected to be made a priority and are a hot button issue in the new legislative session.
With only a week left before the opening of the new legislative session, all party caucuses are compiling their list of priority bills.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, which controls 40 seats in the 113-member legislature, is planning to adhere to its version of priority bills submitted during the three-day extra legislative session held in July.
DPP caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said the list included revisions to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenue and Expenditure, the draft Political party act (政黨法), the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to regulate Chinese investments and the Special Act for Flood Management (水患治理特別條例) to allocate another eight-year flood control budget.
“In addition to these aforementioned issues, the party is also set to propose a motion in the new legislative session demanding that the Taiwan Power Co [Taipower] freeze electricity prices, in light of the state-owned corporation’s insufficient efforts to reform and its excessive budget plan,” Pan said.
As for a much-anticipated amendment to the Public Debt Act, which would allow local governments to raise their debt limits, and which is being touted by local heads from both pan-green and pan-blue camps, Pan said the DPP decided to leave aside the item at this stage.
A DPP caucus meeting is set to be called soon to deliberate on and set in stone the party’s priority bills, Pan said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus, which holds 64 seats in the legislature, is set to follow the Executive Yuan’s list of priority bills — including the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenue and Expenditure, the Public Debt Act and the draft Political party act.
KMT caucus whip Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the party had collected the results of a survey handed out to party legislators to gauge their preferred lists of priority bills on Friday last week and the compilation of those data was underway.
“One thing we can be certain of is that in the new legislative session the KMT will focus on [passing the amendments to] the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenue and Expenditure and the Public Debt Act, as those are imperative acts that should be made top priorities by both pan-blue and pan-green legislators,” Wu said.
Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said while the party had yet to determine whether to propose amendments to the two much-publicized acts, its main emphasis during the new session would be on the revisions to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the Referendum Act (公民投票法), the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) and the draft Political party act.
People First Party caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said the party had drafted its own versions of amendments to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenue and Expenditure and the Public Debt Act and was scheduled to propose revisions to the draft Political party act and regulations regarding cross-media management and monopoly.