Legislators yesterday were unable to agree on the passage of a government proposal to issue a NT$6,000 (US$197.80) tax rebate, after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers pushed for the amount to be raised to NT$10,000.
After three hours of debate, legislators halted discussion on the Executive Yuan’s proposal to distribute NT$140 billion of a NT$380 billion tax revenue surplus from last year in one-off cash payments.
Under the plan, announced on Thursday last week, the government would issue NT$6,000 to all citizens and three categories of foreign nationals — foreign nationals with permanent residency, resident spouses of Taiwanese and foreign diplomats.
During the debate, KMT legislators pushed a competing version of the bill that offered a cash handout of NT$10,000.
They said that if the increased amount could not be funded from last year’s tax surplus, the surplus from previous years could be used.
KMT caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that his party proposed a larger cash distribution as there had been a NT$430 billion tax revenue surplus in 2021, and some of that money should be returned to Taiwanese after paying down government debts.
Tseng said the party hoped the bill could be passed as soon as possible.
On Friday last week, legislators agreed to extend the legislative session to today to allow for review of the competing bills, but after yesterday’s joint committee review, they referred the bills to a negotiating phase.
In the negotiating phase, legislators can only put the bills to a floor vote after one month should they not reach an agreement.
Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that under those procedures the cash payout would not be issued until April at the earliest.
The legislature is to begin its winter recess today, with the next session scheduled to open on Feb. 20.
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