Lawmakers yesterday reduced the central government’s general budget for fiscal year 2019 by 1.19 percent, or NT$24 billion (US$778.31 million).
The general budget earmarked for this year is NT$2.2 trillion.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) on Monday called a round of cross-caucus negotiations over the budget, which continued past midnight.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) suggested that the amount trimmed from the budget — a standard practice during budget reviews — should be larger than the average of the amount cut over the past three years.
After discussions between Tseng and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), the DPP caucus agreed to the proposal, and Su passed a resolution to cut the budget by 1.19 percent based on calculations by Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民).
The KMT caucus filed a motion to cut by half the NT$18.61 million budget requested by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, which was opposed by the DPP.
Although a motion to deny stipends for the Central Election Commission chairman and vice chairman failed to gain unanimous support from the caucuses, they passed a proposal to freeze 15 percent of the commission’s NT$1.2 billion “budget for handling electoral affairs” over the “disorder” witnessed during the Nov. 24 local elections.
Also approved was a proposal to trim NT$592,000 from and freeze NT$10 million of the National Immigration Agency’s budget after 152 Vietnamese tourists reportedly went missing after arriving in Taiwan.
A motion by DPP Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) to cut the NT$83.33 million budget earmarked for the Republic of China Military Academy by NT$3.33 million “because KMT flags are still conspicuously flown on campus” was also set aside for further discussion after protests by KMT lawmakers Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) and Ma Wen-chun (馬文君).
The caucuses also failed to agree on a motion regarding the budget for the second stage of a local submarine program.
The motions on which the caucuses could not reach an agreement are to be put to a vote at a plenary session today, while frozen budgets could be unfrozen after related agencies present oral reports to the legislature to address lawmakers’ concerns.
The Transitional Justice Commission’s planned budget of NT$160 million, which the KMT and the People First Party on Monday proposed freezing, would also be discussed today.
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