Farmer pension changes sent to second reading


TAIPEI–The ruling Kuomintang (KMT)-controlled legislature decided yesterday to put a draft package of amendments to the farmer pension statute to a second reading, to pave the way for increasing the monthly payments to senior farmers from the current NT$6,000 (US$197) to NT$7,000 starting next year.

As lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) remained opposed to a “wealthy farmers exclusion” clause in the KMT-drafted amendment package, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said he will invite the caucus whips of various parties to sort out their differences next week.

Wang said that while lawmakers from across party lines agreed to increase the farmers’ pension by NT$1,000, they were divided over whether wealthy farmers should be ineligible for the payments.

KMT and DPP legislators remained deadlocked over a means testing proviso attached to the amendment that will bar farmers with non-agricultural income of more than NT$500,000 per year or property not for farming purposes worth over NT$5 million from qualifying for the pension payments.