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Saenuri Party seeks to promote fiscal health

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Published : 2014-02-23 20:02
Updated : 2014-02-23 20:02

The ruling Saenuri Party is pushing for a new system that will require lawmakers to draw up budget proposals when submitting bills, according to local news reports.

The “PAYGO” system, short for “pay as you go,” would be part of the Park Geun-hye administration’s efforts to restore the government’s financial health. The current law does not require lawmakers to lay out plans to secure a related budget when sponsoring new bills.

If implemented, the system is expected to curb runaway government spending and further raise lawmakers’ responsibility over submitted bills, the ruling party members said.

“The ruling party is positively reviewing the PAYGO plan, which aims to secure sound finance (in the country),” Kim Gi-hyeon, chief of the Saenuri Party’s policy committee, told News1.

“The policy committee is studying similar PAYGO systems abroad to find what is best for the South Korean parliament,” Kim said.

Reports state that high-ranking officials from the Saenuri Party and Cheong Wa Dae will sporadically promote the legislative work by gathering all related bills currently pending in the National Assembly, including a bill proposed by Saenuri Rep. Kim Moo-sung last year.

The plan has generated mixed responses, however, with opponents claiming that it will infringe upon the legislative power of lawmakers.

Observers say the plan will be objected to by opposition parties, which have continued to roll out “free” or “half-free” proposals such as free school meals, free medical services and half-free tuition policies that require additional budget funding.

Saenuri Rep. Lee Han-goo told Yonhap that the plan was designed to ask lawmakers to vote on bills after getting to understand how such proposals affect the state’s budget and regulations. “If the country cannot control (welfare) populism (by lawmakers), it will pose a great danger to the state budget,” he said.

By Suk Gee-hyun (monicasuk@heraldcorp.com)

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