8 March 2000

The Democratic Party Finds the 2000-2001 Budget Acceptable

Mr. Martin Lee, Chairman of the Democratic Party, commented, "We find the dramatically bland Budget acceptable. The Democratic Party is supportive of the Budget because the Financial Secretary has listened to the people in that no new taxes will be introduced this year so as not to stifle the nascent economic recovery.กจ

The Party supports with caution the commission of a Task Force to be led by the Secretary for the Treasury to monitor the correlation between our recurrent income and economic growth and to assess the viability of our existing tax regime, and the setting up of a committee of tax experts, professionals and academics to look at the suitability of introducing new types of broad-based taxes.

The Party's spokesperson on the Budget, Mr. Sin Chung Kai, offers this observation:

"Given the trend of economic globalization, we have long advocated for a comprehensive review of our existing taxation structure with the aim to generate equitably adequate income to meet the level of public expenditure. Therefore, we think the government is going the right direction.กจ

"But we are watching closely and do want to caution against pre-set conclusions in the proposed review. We find cause for concern in the Financial Secretary's speech -- that he gave a special mention to a consumption-based tax in relation to the discussion of the suitability of introducing broad-based taxes, and that he said the departure tax is correct in principle." The Party reiterates its opposition to the introduction of departure tax and sales tax, and urges the government to table all considered options to the Legislative Council after the tax review.

Media Contact: Mr. Sin Chung Kai (7223-9520)


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