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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where did the budget cut of Kaohsiung’s World Games 2009 go?

Claudia Jean Wrote about the World Games 2009 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and after you have read the previous link, to pay attention to these two paragraphs:

However, the Chinese Nationalist Party used their majority in the Parliament to freeze their budget and accused Hsieh and his colleagues of corruption. The blue friendly media also went to town with it. Luckily, the construction company was willing to carry on with the work and get paid later. (my added note: This happened when DPP’s Chen Shui-Bian was the president and the LY was almost all the time going against his policies which the Executive Yuan was trying to implement)

This event should be something that all Taiwanese can feel proud of and the government (a normal one) should see this as an excellent opportunity to connect with the international community. However, after Ma took office and the Chinese Nationalist Party was in power, the Sports Affairs Council in the Executive branch of the government ignored the amount allocated to the World Games 2009, already passed by the Parliament and cut the budget by 27%. The amount giving to the whole event was only marginally more than what has been given to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Deaflympics Taipei 2009 alone. (my added note: This happened after Ma became president and both the LY and the Executive Yuan are pan-blue, and who gave the authority to cut the budget of the Kaohsiung Games when it was already passed in the LY? and why?)

Meanwhile in Europe, there is a group of thirty some “athletes” and their administrators (tourists?!) wearing CHINESE TAIPEI (advertising for the PRC?!) uniforms on a Europe friendship tour who just visited Athens’ American Community School during the week of June 22nd to 26th. I heard that this group came from Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei (but they were wearing jackets with print: Chinese Taipei, does the capital city not belong to Taiwan?) The team was here for whatever purpose but serious games and competitions, therefore, there was no reason to abide by the IOC’s official title for Taiwan (out of political pressure and one China policy), wearing CHINESE TAIPEI on their uniforms. Their “team” members simply took some pictures of the school and its summer camp activities and left.

I heard that they would also visit other countries in Europe. They may have finished their Europe tour and return to Taiwan by now.

It is so obvious that this kind of activity is a simple sightseeing visit (but disguised by some athletic friendship games) using the resources of who knows what? It could be partially funded by the government, and since the government’s funding came from one single pool, it really didn’t matter if it was indirectly from the budget cut mentioned by Claudia Jean for such an important world event, chopped and reallocated for use by a Taipei based semi-athletic semi-sightseeing tour group.

I am not against any kinds of friendship-building cultural or sports exchange program, but I do not support the double standards being applied on an international event like the Kaohsiung World Games 2009 and this Taipei semi-athletic semi-sightseeing European friendship tour group.

Avoiding the group, my friend reminded me that the Taipei city still owes the central government’s Bureau of National Health Insurance huge money (NT$29.1 billion as of Feb 2009 after my research). But their “athletes” are touring Europe.

Not having much chance to see people from Taiwan, I would normally extend my hospitality regardless of people’s blue or green partisan inclination, but I just have some reservation for this kind of “friendship” group that use Taiwan’s resources to advertise for its enemy’s propaganda (help China to annex Taipei).

Shouldn’t there be a national enquiry into how the Sports Affairs Council in the Executive Yuan distributes its budget and how fairly?

Using public funds for private entertainment purpose is what the Ma government tries to hack the former DPP officials for corruption charges, how about these privileged people from Taipei who probably receive partial public funding for their sightseeing tour of Europe?

A side note on why we should actively care about what the government is doing

While checking for the reference source on how much Taipei city owes the Bureau of National Health Insurance, I discovered another proposed bill amendment:

The LY either has amended or plans to amend the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法), so the city will no longer have to worry about their contribution to the health insurance premium anymore, only leaving them to pay for the past outstanding debt. After the amendment to the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法), the central government will fully (notice not partially, because I could accept partially as long as it is reasonable) pick-up the payment used to be the responsibility of the municipal and local governments.

Read the Plan to raise health insurance premiums shelved from the Taipei Times and notice the paragraphs below:

Meanwhile, Yeh said the amount in NHI subsidies owed by local governments would be dealt with as per the Regulations for Allotment of Centrally Funded Tax Revenues (中央統籌分配稅款管理辦法).

“After the amendment [of the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法)], the subsidy should be paid for by the central government … but the local governments will still have to pay what they already owe,” he said.

Bureau statistics showed that local governments owe subsidy debts totaling NT$53.9 billion, with Taipei City Government alone owing NT$29.1 billion.

Further reading:

From the Bureau of National Health Insurance’s document Eye on the Future, and notice a portion of its recommendation from the research report:

Flexible Financial Management

Making both Ends Meet

The Bureau of National Health Insurance has also informed Taiwan's Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics of the amounts county and city governments owe in unpaid insurance premiums to serve as a reference during assessments of local government budgets and their execution of the previous year's budget. The goal is to pressure local governments to pay off what they owe, and, in some cases, installment plans have been worked out with local governments to repay the balances.


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