Civic Party’s response to the Budget
Whilst we see some improving measures in the budget, we are worried that the Financial Secretary as well as the government is still missing the deep rooted conflict which Premier Wen has twice reminded the SAR government to deal with. This is the widening wealth gap exasperated by the unfair political system.
In his Budget speech, paragraph 166, the Financial Secretary says “it is inappropriate for us to solve the unemployment and poverty problems through large-scale redistribution of wealth. If we adopt this approach, which focuses on providing high levels of welfare, we will have to overhaul our tax regime and tax rates, weaken wage elasticity and adjustment function of the market, and fundamentally change our well-established mode of economic operation.” This shows that the government is entirely out of focus. What we need is not a high welfare state but a fair state.
The Civic Party asks for a level playing field, which breaks monopoly and vested interests. This is why we push for early universal suffrage and the abolition of functional constituencies.
We ask the Government to build more public housing flats, resume the construction of Home Ownership Scheme flat, regulate unscrupulous sales practices of developers. This the Government has refused to do. Merely revitalizing the secondary market of HOS flats and liaising with the MTRC and Urban Renewal Authority will not be sufficient for stabilizing the property market in long term.
In relation to the environmental policies, the $300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund is grossly inadequate for replacing old buses which causes serious roadside pollution. The government should set up $6 billion Roadside Clean Air Fund to replace the 1794 pre-Euro and Euro I buses. Besides, the Budget has little on green economy apart from electric cars which are still slow to catch on. The government should promote green economy by tackling waste reduction and developing the recycling industry.
Whilst we welcome the late measures like
(1) on line fees from low income family students, we note that the government is still refusing to increase the quota of 14,500 for grant university places; or
(2) the 1000 nursing home places for the elderly but this is hardly adequate to meet the 20,000 long queue;
the problem is that this government constantly grossly underestimate the income and thus refuses to make long policies which are necessary to reduce this ever widening wealth gap.