The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday reported Premier Lin Chuan (林全) to the Control Yuan over alleged dereliction of duty for allowing the Executive Yuan to “illegally” budget the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.
Lin breached Article 83 of the Budget Act (預算法) by allowing the construction of parking lots, recreational facilities and the Hakka Romantic Avenue — a proposed road connecting New Taipei City and Taichung to promote Hakka attractions — to be listed under the program, the complaint says.
A special budget should only be planned to cover urgent expenses pertaining to national security, disaster relief, economic crises or major national policies, it said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
In the last case, a special budget may be planned several years after the previous one.
The Executive Yuan’s listing of parking lot construction and computer upgrades for agencies contravenes Article 23 of the act, as those items should be paid for with running expenses rather than a special budget, the KMT said.
Furthermore, the Cabinet failed to specify how it intends to use NT$420 billion (US$13.79 billion) earmarked for the first stage of the program according to Article 7 of the Special Act on the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program (前瞻基礎建設特別條例), as it has budgeted only NT$108.9 billion for the first 16 months, the KMT said.
This has created a loophole for agencies involved in the program to evade the legislature’s scrutiny in the distribution of funds, the KMT said.
KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) told a news conference at the legislature in Taipei that apart from the Taipei City Government, local governments have a combined quota of NT$334.6 billion when allocating complementary budgets for projects initiated by the central government, but they would have to pay NT$390.9 billion for rail construction projects of the infrastructure program alone, which is likely to put great strain on their finances.
Tseng called on Lin, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) and Minister of Finance Sheu Yu-jer (許虞哲) to engage in a public debate with him over debt repayment plans the Cabinet put forward for the program, saying that the cost of the program would be transferred to future generations.
KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said the Cabinet’s budget for the program violated due procedure, making it difficult for the KMT caucus to review the proposals.
He apologized on behalf of the caucus for causing disorder at the legislature, saying that as the caucus does not have a legislative majority, it is left with little choice but to take drastic measures to highlight the problems in the proposals.
He said the caucus would do its best to scrutinize the Cabinet’s budget requests during the extraordinary session that is to begin on Aug. 20 and freeze those that are unreasonable or overlap with fund already allocated for existing projects.
Separately yesterday, KMT chairman-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) dismissed accusations that he had deliberately stayed out of the KMT’s boycott of the program, leaving caucus rudderless.
Wu said as a KMT chairman-elect, he would refrain from giving lawmakers instructions, as he is not familiar with the legislative process.
He commended the caucus’ efforts to block the budget proposals, saying that so far the efforts appear to be effective.
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