Nat’l Assembly Approves 2018 Budget open the window of AOD

Write : 2017-12-10


The National Assembly passed the fiscal 2018 budget bill amid strong protest from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP).
The 428.8 trillion won budget bill was approved during a plenary session held at around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, four days after the legal deadline for its passage.
Out of 178 lawmakers present at the session, 160 voted in favor, 15 against and three abstained.
The budget is 137 billion won less than the initial proposal submitted by the government.
LKP lawmakers who were opposed to the government's spending plan to increase public sector jobs and the corporate tax rate did not take part in the vote. They walked out of the Assembly's main chamber before the vote, denouncing the budget bill as "socialist."
During deliberations, 1.5 trillion won was cut from the government’s proposed budget in the areas of health, welfare and employment.
Planned funding for provincial administration, diplomacy and unification also suffered reductions, while the budget for social overhead capital increased by 1.3 trillion won to 19 trillion won.
The most contentious items in the budget bill concerned an increase of public sector jobs, tax hikes for big businesses and the highest income earners, and a rise in the basic pension and the provision of the children's allowance.
Rival parties agreed to set the number of new public service jobs at 9,475, down from the initially proposed figure of more than 12-thousand.
An income tax rise for top earners will be maintained as the government intended, while some changes have been made to the corporate tax hike plan.
Also, implementation of the children's allowance and basic pension provisions has been delayed to beyond September next year as requested by the opposition camp. Opposition parties had expressed concern that the earlier introduction of the benefits could influence the June provincial elections.
Overall, some adjustments have been made concerning key budget items but the administration's core policy measures have not been sacrificed while budget reductions have not been very large.
The Moon Jae-in government has procured sufficient funding for smooth operations in state affairs. However, the budget boycott by the main opposition party will remain a huge political burden.

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