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2008年5月14日 (水)

スラチャイと英語を勉強しましょう!

(May. 14, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

PM must move to free up use of road-related taxes

「道路」再可決 一般財源化へ法案を詰めよ(5月14日付・読売社説)

A protracted row between the ruling and opposition camps over the use of gasoline tax and other road-related tax revenues predominantly for highway-related projects has dominated the current Diet session.

But now the row has cooled, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda must make every effort to steadily free up the use of of road-related tax revenues for general expenditure.

今国会の最大の争点である「道路」問題はヤマを越した。福田首相は、道路特定財源の一般財源化を確実に実現していかねばならない。

protracted=延長する、長引かせる)(predominantly=大部分は、主に)(dominate=普及する、支配する)

On Tuesday, a revote in the House of Representatives forced a bill through the Diet that requires gasoline tax revenues to be exclusively used for highway construction and other road-related projects for 10 years from this fiscal year. A revote requires the backing of more than two-thirds of the lower house to pass a bill.

今後10年間、ガソリン税収を道路特定財源に充てる改正道路整備費財源特例法が、衆院で、3分の2以上の賛成多数で再可決され、成立した。

revote=再投票)

However, prior to the vote, the Cabinet endorsed a policy that stipulates that from fiscal 2009 road-related tax revenues no longer be earmarked for specific purposes.

これに先立ち、政府は、特例法の「道路財源制度の規定は、2009年度から適用されない」とする方針を閣議決定した。

So the law requiring gasoline tax revenues to be used for road-related projects for another decade flatly contradicts the government's policy of putting an end of specifying the use of such revenue from 2009.

To resolve this discrepancy, the government and the ruling camp need at an early date to enact a bill that makes sure road-related tax revenues are channeled into the general account budget from fiscal 2009.

「10年間」とする法律と、「今年度限り」という政府方針との間には矛盾がある。政府・与党は、これを解消するため、09年度からの一般財源化を担保する法案を早期に成立させる必要がある。

===

How should road tax be spent?

(道路財源をどのように使うべきか?)

So how should the government proceed on this issue?

これからの問題は、一般財源化を具体的にどう進めるかだ。

If road-related tax revenues are put to general use, the issue of how much of it should be allocated to local road maintenance and how much should be spent on such items as welfare, education and environmental measures must be addressed.

一般財源化したら、地方の道路整備にはどれだけ充てたらいいのか。福祉や教育や環境対策の予算としてどう使うか。しっかり論議することが大切だ。

Although it is stated as "provisional," the provisional taxes on gasoline and other road-related taxes have long been sustained. It is appropriate, therefore, to take this opportunity to integrate the taxes into the relevant legislation.

The government's midterm road-maintenance plan, which was initially to spend 59 trillion yen over the next 10 years from fiscal 2008, will be shortened to five years. It is vital to eliminate unnecessary road-related spending by conducting a daring review of the plan.

暫定と言いつつ、長期に維持されてきたガソリン税などの暫定税率は、この際、本則に組み入れるのが適切だろう。5年に短縮する道路整備中期計画は、大胆に洗い直し、道路関連支出のムダも、徹底的に排除することが肝要だ。

daring=大胆な)

Liberal Democratic Party members with vested interests in road construction likely will stiffen their resistance to any changes to road-tax spending, and put increased pressure on those attempting to reformulate the midterm plan. The prime minister must face down these efforts and head off any resistance.

Regarding tax system reform slated for this autumn, Fukuda said he will reach a conclusion on issues including provisional tax rates. But problems must still be addressed, such as how to secure enough revenue to meet the increasing state burden of the basic pension plan. In addition, Fukuda cannot avoid the issue of a consumption tax rate increase.

自民党内のいわゆる道路族は、中期計画の策定をめぐり圧力や抵抗を強めるだろう。首相は、これらを排していかねばなるまい。

首相が、暫定税率を含めた問題に結論を出すという今秋の税制抜本改革時には、基礎年金の国庫負担割合の引き上げに伴う財源確保などの難題が、待ち受けている。消費税率引き上げ問題にも、触れざるをえない。

vested interests=既得権)(face down=立ち向かう)(head off=進路を転じる、排除する)

===

Time for strong leadership

(強力な指導力が求められる)

We hope Fukuda will show strong leadership during the tax system reform discussions.

首相には、税制論議で鮮明な指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

          

The Democratic Party of Japan has offered no significant resistance following the reintroduction of the road-related taxes, when compared with its strident opposition during the lower house's plenary session when a set of tax code bills, including one to reinstate provisionally high rates of gasoline and other road-related taxes, was rammed through using a revote.

The House of Councillors moved at the last minute to vote down the bill Monday.

A constitutional provision stipulates that if the upper house fails to act within 60 days of receiving a bill passed by the lower house, the lower house can consider this a rejection of the bill by the upper house.

The opposition camp might have decided that the upper house would appear superfluous if it did not vote on the bill--in the same manner as it would on a set of tax code bills--and, in doing so, invoke the constitutional provision.

民主党は今回、ガソリンの暫定税率を復活させるための税制関連法再可決の時のような物理的抵抗はしなかった。

参院では、ぎりぎりになって特例法を否決した。税制関連法と同様、採決をせず、60日ルールによる「みなし否決」を適用されては、「参院無用論」が強まりかねない、と判断したのだろう。

strident=執拗な)(reinstate=元通りにする)(ram=激しくぶつかる)(revote=再投票)(vote down the bill=法案を否決する)

superfluous=不適切な)(invoke=引き起こす、誘い出す)

With the end of the current Diet session looming, the DPJ apparently decided to put pressure on the government not by prolonging deliberations, but through thorough discussions. This is the correct way to engage in parliamentary politics.

今後の終盤国会において、民主党は、審議の引き延ばしではなく、徹底した論戦を通じて、政府を追及していくという。議会政治の本道である。

thorough=徹底的な、綿密な)

The ruling and opposition parties have set up a joint consultation body for the discussion of issues including the integration of road-related tax revenues into the general account budget. The DPJ should participate in such discussions and set out its vision on this issue.

道路特定財源の一般財源化などを話し合う場として、与野党協議会がある。民主党は、協議に参加し、自らの主張を展開していくべきではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 14, 2008)

20085140151  読売新聞)

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