Sat, Mar 08, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Premier denies tax plans to fund all-volunteer military

SPECULATION?The government proposed a tax to incite a backlash, which would then be used as excuse to halt the program through insufficient funds, critics said

Staff writer, with CNA

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that the Cabinet has no intention at the moment to plan or study a special tax to support the military’s transition to an all-volunteer force.

The Ministry of Finance had raised the concept during discussions on the nation’s long-term finances a few months ago, but no plans have been developed and no new tax systems are being considered, Jiang said in response to a lawmaker’s question about the proposed tax at a legislative hearing.

Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) also said no such tax was being planned.

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) asked Jiang about the speculation that the tax was proposed to give the government an excuse to abandon its vision of an all-volunteer military.

Some have suggested that with the all-volunteer system getting off to a difficult start, the government proposed the tax to incite a backlash and then use that as an excuse to halt the program because of insufficient funding.

Jiang rejected the speculation, saying that the Ministry of National Defense has confidence in the all-volunteer system.

Acknowledging that recruitment drives failed to meet their targets last year, the premier said the situation has improved this year because the Cabinet agreed to raise stipends for volunteer soldiers.

“There’s no need to create a new tax to help fund the all-volunteer system,” Jiang said.

Taiwan plans to shift to an all-volunteer force by 2017.

It originally planned for the transition to be completed by next year, but pushed the date back due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers.

To achieve the 2017 target, the government has been offering more incentives for young people to pursue a military career, including increasing the monthly duty allowances for new recruits.

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