Over the past year, the Hong Kong economy boomed and funds from land taxes, investments and stamp duties grew enormously. According to its announced figures, the government had a surplus of over $100 billion in the third quarter. Conservative estimates for the surplus in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 predict that the HKSAR government has a surplus of $150 billion. The DAB believes that as its coffers are dangerously overflowing, the government must use the surplus and in its 2018-19 Budget announcement it must proactively take measures to return prosperity to the people and improve their livelihoods. This will allow everyone in Hong Kong to share in the fruits of our economic development.
Last December, the DAB handed in our proposals for the Budget to the Secretary for Finance that came to 139 proposals in total, divided into the three categories of welfare, economic development and cutting taxes. Under the current economic situation, the DAB is handing in an additional 35 important proposals.
Take care of our seniors
1.Improve health care voucher by increasing the maximum value to $3,000 without term restrictions, and lower the age of eligibility to 60 years of age.
2.Provide the $2 public transport subsidy to elderly aged 60 and above.
3.Provide free personal emergency link services. Install alarms for eligible seniors living alone or with another senior and exempt them from monthly fees.
4.Lower the age of eligibility for the OAA to 65.
5.Provide extra allowanceto OAA, OALA and DA recipients.
6.Exempt elderly owner-occupiers from paying rates on flats they live in personally.
Help the Grassroots
7.Alleviate renter’s financial burdens by paying one month’s rent for tenants of Group A Housing and Public Housing estates. Provide N Have-nots with one-off cash grant through the Community Care Fund. Provide an extra month’s subsidy for low-income applicants for housing subsidies.
8.Set up rent subsidies for the eligible families who are on the waiting list for public housing for more than three years and are renting a private housing.
Reduce the tax burden on the Middle Class
9.Increase the salaries tax rebate. Refund 100% of all salaries tax for 2017-18 and tax under personal assessment to a limit of $40,000.
10.Broaden the marginal band for salaries tax from $45,000 to $50,000.
Increase the Child allowance to $132,000 and make it the same as the Basic allowance.
11.Set up four categories of tax allowances. These should include tax allowance for private medical insurance contributions at a limit of $18,000, tax allowance for voluntary contributions to the MPF at a limit of $18,000, tax deduction for residential rental at a limit of $100,000 with a term of 20 years as well as tax deduction for expenses in hiring domestic helpers.
13.Relieve the financial burden on first-time property buyers. Provide exemption from stamp duty and mortgage insurance fees for permanent residents purchasing their first homes of 8 million or less.
14.Encourage the use of electric cars. Give a tax exemption from first registration tax to drivers who switch to electric cars to encourage car owners to proactively switch to environmentally friendly electric cars.
15.Exempt everyone from rates payable for the whole year, with the upper limit set at $2,500 per season.
Protect the vulnerable in society
16.Set up a designated fund for patients of rare diseases and sponsor the medicines necessary for them to funding applicants. Set the application threshold at a fairly low bar in order to allow more patients to use this fund.
17.Improve the level of care provided for sufferers of domestic violence and sexual abuse. 18.Provide temporary accommodations and funding and also provide protection for them.
Provide all women in Hong Kong with free health screenings. Provide free cervical cancer vaccination and screenings for all women.
Help our children and youth
19.Set up an infant fund and provide an accumulating and ongoing fund for newborn infants. 20.The fund should be used for education, future home ownership and to heal critical illnesses. The fund can provide early planning for the new generation of Hong Kong.
Establish medical vouchers for children worth $2,000 per year and protect the health of children and youth.
21.Broaden the “one social worker per school” scheme to kindergartens and primary schools to provide better protection for the mental and physical development of children
22.Restart the student 50% discount pass for public transport and allow full-time students to enjoy these transport subsidies and replace the current restrictive system of student travel subsidy scheme.
23.Expand the school dental care service and the influenza vaccination scheme to secondary schools and better protect the health of teenagers.
24.Provide a textbook subsidy of $2,000 primary and secondary school student and relieve the financial burden on parents.
25.The government should exempt all regular daytime students from DSE examination fees for three years.
26.Increase the subsidizes of Continuing Education Fund to $30,000.
27.Alleviate the mean-tested repayment burden of the Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-28.secondary Students that the total amount of benefit per person is up to $20,000.
Inject more resources in Innovation and Technology Education.
Raise the morale of the disciplined services
29.Provide group medical insurance to disciplined services staff and improve their medical welfare.
30.Reform the grade system and pay scale of the disciplined services and improve their remuneration packages.
31.Reduce profit taxes entirely for 2017-18, to a limit of $40,000.
32.Exempt businesses from paying registration fees and license fees.
33.Provide tax benefits for SME funds. Funds that fuel SMES should enjoy tax credits and continue to encourage investors to help fund SMEs.
Sharing the fruits of development for everybody
34.The FIFA World Cup is being held this year and the government should cooperate with TV and media rights holders and broadcast the matches freely so that the public can enjoy watching world class football.
35.Give permanent residents aged 40 and above a voucher for a health examination worth $1,000 and allow them to undergo a health examination at any eligible institution in the HKSAR.