The government has begun its consulting process with the public for the 2018-19 Budget. The DAB has presented its proposals regarding the budget entitled “Invest in The Future and Share the Fruits of Development”. We provided nearly 140 proposals to the Finance Secretary which included:
•Lead local enterprises to develop more overseas markets, for example setting up special funds that help local enterprises to promote their brand and market in ASEAN countries.
•Set up effective policies and attract high-value businesses from overseas to set up their headquarters in Hong Kong.
•Encourage the development of high value-added maritime services including marine insurance industry so as to drive high value-added industries in Hong Kong and create more diverse local jobs.
•Set up Steering Committee on Innovation & Technology as soon as possible and develop Common Spatial Data Infrastructure. Speed up the development and implementation of the various services of smart city blueprint.
•The government should hire professionals in the field and truly turn Hong Kong into a smart city.
People’s Livelihood and Welfare
•Quickly provide more land including land reclamation and utilizing land on the edges of Country Parks. Help alleviate thesoaring property prices and the difficulties in achieving home ownership.
•Waive rates for the whole year.
•Lower the age of eligibility for the OAA to 65.
•Lower the eligibility age Elderly Health Care Vouchers Scheme to 60 and increase the voucher amount to $3000.
•Allow the OALA to be implemented into the Guangdong Scheme.
•Provide an extra month of OALA, OLA and the Disability Allowance.
•Increase the quota for public general and specialist outpatient clinics and provide 24-hour medical clinic services.
•Reduce salaries tax by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $20,000.
•Widen the marginal bands for salaries tax to $50,000 and lower the marginal rates of tax bands by one percentage point.
•Increase child allowance from the current $100,000 to $132,000.
•Consider providing discount on stamp duty to first-time homebuyers of Hong Kong residents with permanent identity card. If the property is under $8 million, cut the stamp duty in half and provide an exemption for mortgage insurance premiums of the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation.
•Lower the owner-occupier’s rates percentage charge and provide a tax deduction for residential rentals.