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May 23, 2008

Cabinet gives lots of cash to local governments

To help with various construction and infrastructure projects, and help local governments cover budget deficits and rising commodity costs, the cabinet decided at their first meeting yesterday to release NT$114 billion (US$3.8 billion) total.

Funds were distributed based on population per city and county, prompting Tainan and Kaohsiung mayors and city councilors to complain.

Legislators were asked for suggested applications of the funds, which are aimed at improving local tourist infastructure by the end of June, in time for the three links.

Where will the money come from? The upcoming budget amendments, an expected increase in tax revenue this year and funding for an "equity plan" (釋股計畫) -- proposed long ago but stalled in the legislature until now -- should be enough to cover everything.

In other words, in case you had any doubt that the legislature had been starving local construction funding, you need not doubt any longer. All the real funding will come from alterations in legislation. I just hope the Ma government doesn't start spending like a drunken sailor with no revenue to cover their plans.

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