Miaoli’s debt shows need for end to pork barrel politics

Want China Times

As Greece moves agonizingly toward a third bailout package that will bring yet more austerity

NT dollar bills. (Photo/Huang Shih-chi)

NT dollar bills. (Photo/Huang Shih-chi)

to the beleaguered country, the cash-strapped county government of Miaoli in northern Taiwan finds itself in a somewhat similar bind. The county is steeped in debt to the point that it cannot pay its public sector workers and has appealed to the central government for help.

The situation has triggered discussion of how political parties have adopted pork barrel policies to ingratiate voters, plunging the nation’s finances into dire straits. The central government has cut taxes several times in the past decade and the ratio of tax revenue to GDP has continued to slip even as government expenditure has continued to rise.

Because of this, it has been more difficult for the central government to draft a budget. It has had to cut funding for culture and education and investment in public construction projects, which is not favorable to the long-term development of the economy.     [FULL  STORY]

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