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Stock gains tax vote to be held June 15: speaker

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday estimated that the Procedure Committee can include discussion of the stock gains tax in the agenda on June 12 for the Legislative Yuan to review on June 15, the last day of this session, and if there is a consensus among all parties the draft can be passed by the end of this session.

If any party proposes cross-party negotiations, however, there will not be enough time for the draft to be passed before the end of this session, the speaker said.

Regarding whether the Legislature would further extend the session or hold an interim meeting on the stock gains tax, Wang said that the answer depends entirely on the decision of all parties.

Chang Hopes General Meeting Will Focus on KMT Version

According to Wang, Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) hopes that the discussion to be held in the Legislative Yuan will focus on the Kuomintang's (KMT) latest version of the tax bill, proposed by Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan. Chang also hopes that the advantages of the four other versions can also be integrated into the final version.

Using the moon landing as a metaphor while visiting the Legislative Yuan speaker, Chang said that although the drafts of the stock gains tax have only just passed the committee review, it is not only one small step for the stock gains tax, but also a giant leap for tax reform in Taiwan.

Describing the final result given in the Finance Committee as "satisfactory," Chang said that in the past whenever the issue of a stock gains tax was raised, one finance minister would step down. Thus, it is quite a remarkable achievement that the stock gains tax proposal was able to pass the Finance Committee.

According to Chang, there is a trade-off between obtaining taxes from the wealthy and minimizing impact on the stock market. As a result, the fairer the tax, the harder for the tax to gain support in the Legislature.

The finance minister also voiced his wish to expedite the process to restore the stability of the stock market, Wang said.

Not Meeting the Requirement for Interim Meeting: Legislators

KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) stated that the stock gains tax issue is different from the U.S. beef row, and it is also different from the National Communications Commission (NCC) appointment controversy; therefore, it does not meet the requirement for holding an interim meeting.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) cited the increase of 100 points in the weighted index yesterday as proof that the stock market will not be affected by the discussion. Thus, there is no hurry and there are still five versions that need to be discussed, he said.

Wu and Hsu, however, emphasized that the KMT still hopes to pass the draft as soon as possible.

Ma to Meet KMT Legislator

KMT Legislator Tseng Chu-wei (曾巨威), an expert on taxation, stated during an interview with the United Evening News that the KMT's newest tax proposal is not perfect, but he will do his best to make it better through communication.

According to the United Evening News, Tseng would like to see Taiwan's wealthy behave more like Warren Buffett, who doesn't shy away from paying more taxes. Tseng said wealthy people in Taiwan are willing to sponsor charity, but reluctant to pay taxes, which creates a huge obstacle for tax reform.

President Ma Ying-jeou invited scholars who drafted his white paper for his election campaign, including Tseng, to dinner last night. Tseng said he will grasp any chance to communicate with the president and other government officials, the report said.

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