Sat, Apr 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Academics pan use of ‘special budget’ to fund program

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Democracy Watch chairwoman Chen Chao-ju speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, demanding that the Cabinet withdraw the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program bill, which the group said had been put together too hastily.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program should be withdrawn and redrafted with clearer justifications for the projects, Taiwan Democracy Watch said yesterday, condemning the planned use of a “special budget” to fund the program.

“The government should use the normal annual budgetary process to fund these projects, rather than relying on a special budget,” Taiwan Democracy Watch chairwoman Chen Chao-ju (陳昭如) said.

Chen accused the government of seeking to rush the plan through without adequate planning.

Tamkang University public administration professor Tu Yu-yin (涂予尹) said that plans to pass an enabling law for the program’s budget risked allowing for a “hasty” approval, while many details remain undefined.

“A real budgetary proposal would have clear, specific detailed items, but that level of detail is not something an enabling law can really address,” Tu said.

“How resources will be allocated is not transparent, ‘forward-looking’ is not clearly defined and it is also not clear what objectives the projects are supposed to achieve,” National Chengchi University public administration professor Tu Wen-ling (杜文苓) said.

“The Executive Yuan has the burden of proof to demonstrate that special budgetary mechanisms are necessary,” National Taiwan University legal professor Liu Ching-yi (劉靜怡) said. “However, its reasoning is not clear and it is also not readily apparent how it calculated the budget.”

Liu said that a law allowing leftover funds to be diverted to government agencies’ regular budgets would encourage waste, adding that difficulty in attracting bidders for projects and failure to pass environmental impact assessments were some of the possible roadblocks which would likely result in unspent funds.

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