More than 60 percent of respondents in a survey by the Taiwan Style Foundation support the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, and 53 percent back pension reforms.
After a preliminary review of a draft bill for the program was finalized in May by a legislative committee, a cross-caucus negotiation was held yesterday to discuss the bill before a set of special provisions for its budget starts its review this week.
The survey showed that 61 percent of respondents are in favor of the program, including 21 percent who are “very supportive” and 40 percent who are “somewhat supportive,” foundation chairman Wang Zhin-sheng (王智盛) said yesterday.
A cross-analysis by political identification showed that 41.8 percent of pan-blue supporters, 81.7 percent of pan-green supporters and 52.2 percent who are politically neutral said they support the program.
Wang said that support for the program’s five categories each netted a favorable rating of more than 50 percent: water infrastructure, 78.3 percent; renewable energy, 67.5 percent; urban and rural development, 66.2 percent; digital infrastructure, 61 percent; and railway projects, 52 percent.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that an average of NT$110 billion (US$3.62 billion) would be spent on the program each year — about 5 percent of the central government’s general budget — which should not be considered too much to spend on infrastructure development and replacement.
He urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to discuss the bill rationally and not work against the public’s opinions.
DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that other surveys had only asked respondents whether they support the program in general, which could be misleading, while the foundation’s survey showed that more than half of respondents support all five categories.
However, he added that the previous results could also indicate poor communication with the public about the program, he said.
As for pension reform, 53.6 percent of respondents support the move, with 68 percent agreeing that “phasing out the 18 percent preferential savings rate for retired public employees in two years” is acceptable and 70.4 percent favoring “a minimum monthly pension of NT$32,160 for public employees.”
The results showed not only support for pension reform, but even higher support as the policy details become clearer.
The survey was conducted on Sunday and Monday last week. It gathered 1,072 valid samples and has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.
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