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[Editorial] GNP Must Pressure Government to Lower Taxes, Expenditures

[Editorial] GNP Must Pressure Government to Lower Taxes, Expenditures

Posted November. 09, 2005 03:02,   


The Grand National Party (GNP) tentatively decided to cut 8.9 trillion won from the government’s 2006 budget plan of 221.4 trillion won yesterday. The cutback includes 2.2 trillion won from 10 percent of each major state-run project and one trillion won from “problematic programs.”

However, disagreements are already emerging within the main opposition party. The leadership has announced a major cutback, but some lawmakers have sided with the government in the caucus, saying, “The tax cut falls short of boosting the economy,” or even demanding a smaller reduction. With local elections coming next year, some are even eyeing pork barrel budgets.

This way, the GNP may repeat its past when it eventually settled for a 600 billion won cutback instead of eight trillion won from the government’s budget plan last year. This should not be the case. The opposition party knows that the public was outraged at every expose of the government’s squandering of hard-earned tax money. Although for a different reason, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan questioned earlier, “Isn’t there a greater than five percent waste factor in the government’s budget?”

If the GNP truly cares for the people’s livelihood, it must pressure the government and the ruling party to minimize the unnecessary and wasteful government expenditures. This step must have results in order to actually reduce tax, relieve people’s tax burden, and revive the private sector. It would be greatly distressing for the public if GNP members join the ruling and other opposition parties in sharing the “pork barrel budgets” for their constituency management.

This is not why voters cast their ballots for the GNP in the by- and re-election in April and the re-election in October. The public’s intention was to keep a thorough check on the government and the ruling party for their excessive taxation and lax budget management with poor governance. If the main opposition party serves the public, it must not go easy on any of the budget items or conspire with the ruling party in generating budget bubbles. The people are watching over the GNP if it qualifies as an authorized party.