Fri, Jul 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Yunlin facing funds shortfall, but vows to address issue

Staff writer, with CNA

Yunlin County could face a funding shortfall of about NT$1 billion (US$31.94 million) in October, but the county is working on cutting back spending and raising income by auctioning land, county officials said on Wednesday.

Since the county does not expect to receive any tax revenue until November — when the county is to collect land value taxes — it expects the shortfall to occur in October, county officials said, adding that the money is needed to pay the salaries of government employees, for public works and for social welfare projects.

Yunlin had total debts of NT$30.75 billion as of last month, Department of Finance Director Hung Jen-sheng (洪仁聲) said.

That translates into an average debt of about NT$34,000 for each county resident, Hung said.

“The debt means that Yunlin County has no room to borrow more funds under budget regulations. However, the county is determined to cut its spending and look for new revenue sources to address its financial difficulties,” she said.

Yunlin County Commissioner Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) has pledged to cut his monthly special budget of NT$66,000, while the government also plans to slash spending on public affairs and subsidies, Hung said.

She said the county government is planning to auction public land.

“Since the beginning of the year, the Yunlin County Government has seen the urgency of reining in its spending and raising its income due to its large debt. We are working on a package to deal with the problems,” Hung said.

She said that the county government would release details of a package soon on how to tackle the debt.

“We have faith that we will be able to overcome financial difficulties, so it is unlikely that Yunlin would seek financial assistance from the central government as Miaoli County has done,” Hung said.

The Miaoli County Government has asked for a bailout from the central bank as the county is NT$64.8 billion in debt and needs to spend NT$600 million in salaries for staff and an additional NT$600 million in pensions this month alone.

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