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Taiwan: Cabinet Submits 53 Priority Draft Proposals to the Legislature

(Feb. 27, 2012) The Executive Yuan (Cabinet) of the Republic of China on Taiwan had 53 priority draft items of legislation to submit to the country's legislature for review, in advance of the new legislative session that opened on February 24, 2012. (Grace Kuo, ROC Cabinet Gears Up for New Legislative Session, TAIWAN TODAY (Feb. 24, 2012).)

Premier Sean Chen stated that the Cabinet's focus would be “on revitalizing the economy, taking care of the less privileged and achieving housing justice,” by means of such legislation as the budget bill and a bill on long-term care for the elderly. He added that “a task force will be formed to cope with the changes in the global economic situation, with an aim to stabilize the financial sector and consumer prices, create job opportunities, promote investments, help the private sector, boost domestic consumption and increase exports.” (Chen Wei-ting et al., Economy, Housing Justice High on Cabinet's Priority List, TAIWAN NEWS (Feb. 23, 2012).)

Specific issues covered by the proposed legislation include public debt, environmental protection, rezoning of administrative divisions, mergers of financial institutions, refugees, and sharing of tax revenues between the central and local governments. (Id.; Kuo, supra.) Some of the key proposals are to:

  • institute “a debt alert mechanism for local governments.” Along with the administrative division proposal, the public debt measure is aimed at resolving problems that had arisen as a result of the creation of four new districts in late 2010 – the special municipalities of New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Related amendments would aim to “[increase] sources of income for local governments; …[and] narrow the divide between urban and rural areas;” and combat income inequality (Kuo, supra);
  • in regard to the environment, adopt measures on the management and use of wetlands, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the encouragement of the use of energy-saving appliances and practices by means of an energy consumption tax (id.; Chen et al., supra; see also Amy Su, Premier Vows to Push for Passage of an Energy Tax, TAIPEI TIMES (Feb. 25, 2012));
  • institute a series of policy initiatives to achieve justice in housing, “such as subsidizing home buyers and helping young people buy their first homes,” “building 'social' and 'reasonably priced' housing units for low-income households,” and “mandating registration of actual prices in real estate transactions” (Chen et al., supra);
  • establish a non-profit organization that would do research on and develop cultural creativity projects in order to enhance Taiwan's cultural industry (id.); and
  • facilitate expansion of the private sector into overseas markets and seek more balanced development of rural and urban areas (id.).

According to Premier Chen, “[t]hese proposed acts and amendments reflect some of the most important policy objectives of this Cabinet, such as taking care of the underprivileged, maintaining social security, protecting human rights and pushing for financial reforms.” (Kuo, supra.)