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.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
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