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  • Interpretation
  • No.463
  • Date
  • 1998/09/11
  • Issue
    • Does the “total budget” enunciated in Article 164 of the Constitution include extra or special budgets?
  • Holding
    •        Article 164 of the Constitution clearly requires that the budgets for educational programs, scientific studies, and cultural services in the central and local governments shall reach a certain percentage of the total national budget to ensure stable and sufficient public expenditure for education, science and culture in the state and municipalities. This Article reflects the emphasis on educational, scientific and cultural development in the Constitution. The “total budget” in the Article does not include extra or special budgets. This principle has been previously confirmed by Interpretations Nos. 77 and 231 of this Yuan.    
      
    •    A government drafts its budget plan based on expected income and expenditure for the coming year. With the budget plan, government agencies will be able to perform their functions and the government’s finances will be set. Accordingly, there should be one single budget plan. In case of special circumstances or any emergency listed in the various subparagraphs of Article 75 of the Budget Act, the Executive Yuan may propose a special budget in addition to the annual total budget. Article 76 of the Budget Act sets forth the review procedure of special budgets.  
      
    •   With respect to the issue of how to calculate the expenditures for educational programs, scientific studies, and culture in Article 164 of the Constitution and the issue of whether provincial and city budget balancing funds should be included in the “total budget,”a provision in the Constitutional Amendment shall be noted. Article 10, Paragraph 8, of the Constitutional Amendment, promulgated on July 21, 1997, reads: “Priority shall be given to funding education, science, and culture, and in particular funding for compulsory education, the restrictions in Article 164 of the Constitution notwithstanding.”Because of this Paragraph, issues regarding what amount, what percentage, how to propose, and how to allocate such budgets are left for the legislators to decide, in accordance with their political accountability. Therefore, we do not need to decide pending questions such as the extent of “total budget”in Article 164 of the Constitution and the percentage of expenditure for education, science, and culture in the central and local governments.
  • Reasoning
    •        Article 164 of the Constitution reads: “Expenditures for educational programs, scientific studies, and cultural services shall not be, in respect of the central government, less than 15 percent of the total national budget; in respect of each province, less than 25 percent of the total provincial budget; and in respect of each municipality or hsien, less than 35 percent of the total municipal or hsien budget. Educational and cultural foundations established in accordance with law shall, together with their property, be protected.”This Article clearly requires that the budgets for educational programs, scientific studies, and cultural services in the central and local governments reach a certain percentage of the total national budget to ensure stable and sufficient public expenditure for education, science and culture in the state and municipalities. This Article reflects the emphasis on education, science and cultural development in the Constitution. “Percentage” in the article means the ratio of the annual total expenditure in the budget plan. It does not include extra budgets that were added thereafter. “Total budget” means the total annual expenditure in the total annual budget planned by governments. It does not include special budgets. This principle has been previously confirmed by Interpretations Nos. 77 and 231 of the Judicial Yuan.  A government drafts its budget plan based on expected income and expenditure for the coming year. With the budget plan, government agencies will be able to perform their functions and the government’s finances will be set. Accordingly, there should be one single budget plan. In case of special circumstances or any emergency listed in the various subparagraphs of Article 75 of the Budget Act, the Executive Yuan may propose a special budget in addition to the total annual budget. Article 76 of the Budget Act sets forth the review procedure of special budgets. In reviewing a special budget, a majority in the Legislative Yuan may reach a resolution to delete the special budget or to request the Executive Yuan to modify the budget, if it finds the budget does not meet the requirements in law. Other issues related to this article, inter alia, are: (I) Do special budgets proposed by the Executive Yuan and by provincial and city governments for the years 1992 to 1994 meet the requirements in Article 75 of the Budget Act? Are those budgets consistent with Article 164 of the Constitution? ; (II) There are several questions with respect to the annual total budget for the year 1996 proposed by the executive branch: (1) The question of how to allocate “educational, scientific and cultural expenditure”under the title of government affairs in the total budget of the Central Government. (2) The question of how to apply the requirements for special budgets in Article 75 of the Budget Act and the proportions to allocate with respect to expenses for education, science and culture. (3) The question of how to calculate the percentage of expenditure for education, science and culture when [the central government] provides “subsidies for compulsory education”to provincial, hsien and municipal governments. (4) The question of whether expenditures for education, science and culture of the hsien and municipal governments should include those of the hsiang and town; and (III) The question of whether the “total budget”in Article 164 of the Constitution should include “provincial and city budget balancing funds.”The question of whether Article 3 of the Regulations Governing the Management and Use of Provincial and City Government Budget Balancing Funds Held by the Central Government for General Distribution violates the Constitution because Article 3 includes all [balancing funds] in the “total budget”and leads to reduction of expenditure for education, science and culture by the central government. Article 10, Paragraph 8, of the Constitutional Amendment, promulgated on July 21, 1997, reads: “Priority shall be given to funding education, science, and culture, and in particular funding for compulsory education, the restrictions in Article 164 of the Constitution notwithstanding.”Because of this Paragraph, issues regarding what amount, what percentage, how to propose, and how to allocate such budgets are left for the legislators to decide, in accordance with their political accountability. Therefore, we do not need to decide pending questions such as the extent of the “total budget”in Article 164 of the Constitution and the percentage of expenditure on education, science, and culture in the central and local governments.  
      
    • *Translated by Eric Yao-kuo Chiang.
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