Wed, Oct 24, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Civil servant commuting budget unfair: lawmaker

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee questions the legal basis of the government’s budget for subsidizing civil servants’ commuting expenses yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) yesterday proposed cutting the NT$1.28 billion (US$43.73 million) earmarked for subsidizing public servants for commuting expenses.

Lee said the party would demand that the subsidy be removed from the draft budget statement for the next fiscal year because it lacks a legal basis.

According to Lee, a budget of NT$12.9 million was allotted under the legislature for the purpose of reimbursing commuting expenses, NT$22.06 million under the Control Yuan, NT$31.43 million under the Presidential Office in the draft budget statement, currently under review in the legislature.

Lee said he failed to see why the government should pay its employees’ commuting expenses, especially when the Presidential Office, the legislature, the Control Yuan, as well as many other government institutions, are close to transportation hubs.

“Despite the subsidy being small, it is problematic. It is not a mandatory expense,” Lee said.

According to the PFP, the subsidy is distributed to all public servants at all levels of government. The amount public servants ask to be reimbursed for public transport or fuel costs is about NT$1,000 a month.

“In the past, when public servants’ salaries were insufficient, it might have been reasonable for the government to cover the costs of commuting. However, at a time when people are beginning to scrutinize the benefits public servants are entitled to, we, as lawmakers, can’t really justify maintaining the subsidy,” Lee said.

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