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Dec 7, 2023
Exorbitant housing costs the source of dissatisfaction: TSU By Jason Pan / Staff reporter Issues of housing justice and steep real-estate prices have led to dissatisfaction among young voters, who are turning away from the two major parties, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday, blaming unreasonably high housing taxes collected by local governments. “The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has taken up measures to bring down property prices and has promoted fairness and housing justice for years, but housing prices in cities are still climbing,” TSU Chairman Liu Yi-te (劉一德) told a news conference at the party’s office in Taipei. Liu said these measures include heavy fines and other punishments to combat property speculation by investors, as well as a registration requirement for the actual price of a transaction to prevent the recording of inflated prices and deter owners and agents from taking advantage of the opaque process, he said. Taiwan Solidarity Union chairman Liu Yi-te, second right, and other members of the group attend a news conference at the party’s office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times In recent years, one main reason for the surging prices is rezoning by local governments, opening plots for farming and industrial use, and for real-estate development, as the land can increase in assessed value by 10 times or more overnight, while local governments make huge financial gains by collecting the Land Value Increment Tax, which could be as much as 10 to 20 percent, Liu said. This has been a major source of tax revenue for Taiwan’s six special municipalities in recent years and is the main driver of high real-estate prices, he said. High property prices cause the younger generation to choose not to marry or raise a family, creating a declining birthrate, resulting in sectors of “dissatisfied, frustrated” young voters who are turning against the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), he said. To drive down prices and enact fairer policies, former TSU legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) provided several recommendations, including for the government to build more social housing and subsidize housing for younger people On taxes from land rezoning, TSU legislator-at-large candidate Chang Teng-kai (張登凱) said that 30 percent of these tax revenues should be allocated specifically toward achieving housing justice, such as the provision of financial assistance to younger people for purchasing or renting a home, and housing subsidies for working-class people and senior citizens. Chang said that taxes collected by local governments should be put into a dedicated “public housing assistance and saving fund” to help younger generations, laborers and senior citizens in subsidizing their rent or first-time home, or go into building social housing units. TSU social movement department head Ou Yang Jui-lien (歐陽瑞蓮) said that the government could learn from Singapore in providing fair and low-cost housing for all of society. Singapore has constructed extensive social housing for its citizens, and the monthly fees are not based on the land values of a particular city section, but rather is means tested in which working-class households would pay in accordance with their lower monthly income, while those with a higher monthly salary would pay a higher rate, she said. Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.
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