||Research on the Strategies That Can Improve the Financial Autonomy of Kaohsiung County|
Local autonomy is the foundation of democracy, and finance is the basis of government administration. Before local autonomy can be put into practice, a local government must have the legal right to finance. In order to improve the autonomy of local finance, the central government has enacted “General Guideline for Local Taxation” and “Law on Imposed Fees,” and the revised draft of the Financial Separation of Revenues and Expenditures Law was submitted to the Legislature for review and discussion. In other words, in the future, the central government will guarantee the basic financial needs of local governments, but local governments must resort to themselves to respond to their respective development and needs in other aspects. This will pose very harsh challenges and burdens to any local government. This is especially true when the financial sources for administrative districts are usually not sufficient. So how to improve the financial autonomy of local governments will be a major topic we will have to deal with.
Literature review, analysis of secondary data, and in-depth interviews were conducted to collect financial statistics of government agencies, pertinent to the financial conditions of Kaohsiung County. Interviews of financial chiefs were also conducted to analyze and investigate issues on the system dimension and on the practical dimension. It was found that the central and the local government must work closely before the financial problems of Kaohsiung County can be solved. The things that the central government should do include: canceling the fixed-proportions distribution of over-the-board allocated tax money, revising the calculation of basic financial revenues, canceling inappropriate measures of tax deductions, and establishing statutory subsidy systems. The local government should work to increase the sources of finance, including making good use of “General Guideline for Local Taxation” and “Law on Imposed Fees,” improving management of public properties, adjusting tax base of property, setting into motion public facilities, and implementing land re-divisions and sectional buy-up. With regard to saving, the local government should downsize the personnel expenditures, make good use of resources of the private sector, encourage private sector’s participation in investment, and privatize public services.
The implementation of local autonomy depends on sound local finances. In the wake of the present difficult public financial conditions, local governments should follow the spirit of “Help oneself before others come to help” so as to elevate their responsibility and financial autonomy in the future. Only through this method can financial problems be solved effectively.