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Sean Lien unveils financial platform for campaign
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-30 04:09 PM
Sean Lien unveiled the financial platform for his campaign for Taipei City mayor Wednesday, emphasizing responsibility and frugality even as he talked of hoping to realize his dreams for the city.

Lien explained that fiscal policy is one of the most important parts of preparing for his administration. He stressed that the key to his financial plan is “working to achieve real dreams, and not escapist ones."

He prefaced his remarks by noting that as a candidate he cannot advocate indiscriminate spending, saying that at each step in policy planning it is necessary to stop and think seriously about where the money for projects will come from. He promised to do all he can to eliminate unnecessary expenses, explaining that he will rely on financial experts to lay down a foundation for long-term governance of the city of Taipei.

Lien said Taipei faces long-term challenges including young people seeking public housing, an aging society and low birth rate, and hurdles confronting young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. All of these problems, he said, need and deserve complete planning and financial support.

Lien noted that in recent years Taipei has sought to reduce its overall tax burden, and after revision of the Public Debt Act and substantial reductions in property taxes, spending on education and social welfare expenditures represent some 60 percent of the overall budget. There are also many other important issues such as the Minsheng-Xizhi Line, the Xinyi Line East Extension and the Wan-da Line of Taipei MRT which will require substantial funds.

Lien promised to bring in experienced professionals in finance to help ensure that public funds are utilized wisely. He said the city needs to explore methods such as issuing securities and bonds or setting up a diversified holding company or private finance initiative (PFI) system to maximize its financial resources.

At the same time, he cautioned that the city government will not be “looking for money just for the sake of looking for money,” explaining that funding will be done on a demand basis and in stages, and with the consent of the Legislative Yuan. Every case presented will offer the most favorable conditions possible, he said.

Cost controls will be overseen by the Taipei City Government and a team of finance experts who will examine each bureau's annual budget to find places where savings can be made and funds can be better used. At the same time, the government will make good use of citizen participation via the Internet to ensure transparency in budget preparation and execution and to allow the public to understand what the city is planning and doing.

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