Lawmakers to cut benefits

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 10, 2012 - Page 3

The legislature yesterday approved rules that will save the treasury NT$97.36 million (US$3.36 million) a year by cutting out or reducing some of their allowances, after concerns were raised that the benefits were not enshrined in law and were open to abuse.

According to the revised Organic Law of the Legislative Yuan (立法院組織法), each lawmaker is entitled to a total of NT$940,000 in various allowances — NT$860,000 less than they were getting before — along with a subsidy of NT$56,000 for health examinations during their term of office and reimbursement for fuel costs of up to 600 liters per month.

Each lawmaker is also entitled to receive NT$12,000 for telecommunications fees, NT$15,000 for stationary and stamps, NT$20,000 for renting offices in constituencies, NT$14,672 for office affairs, NT$200,000 for overseas trips.

Previously, lawmakers were eligible to receive subsidies for legislative research, highway tolls, hosting events, meals, overtime meal allowances for their drivers, birthday vouchers, cellphone purchases, accommodation in Taipei and more.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) raised the lawmakers’ subsidy issue late last month amid discussion that an allocation of NT$20.2 billion for year-end benefits for 445,708 retired military personnel and public employees was not based on the law. Lawmakers were forced to review their benefits. It turned out that they had been able to claim about 20 subsidies not written into law.