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2008年12月 5日 (金)

道路特定財源 「一般財源化」はどこに行った

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 5, 2008)

What came of road tax funds transfer pledge?

道路特定財源 「一般財源化」はどこに行った(125日付・読売社説)

It appears that the government's pledge to put road-related tax revenues into the general account from fiscal 2009 will effectively be an empty promise.

 道路特定財源を一般財源化する政府の公約は、事実上、空手形に終わるようだ。

The Liberal Democratic Party project team tasked with studying how the system of road-related financial sources should be revamped has worked out a final draft for reforms that calls for using most of the funding for road construction and improvement projects as before.

 道路特定財源制度のあり方を検討していた自民党の作業チームが、見直しの最終案を固めた。大半を道路整備に使う内容になっている。

Prime Minister Taro Aso basically accepted the group's draft, which is expected to be almost entirely incorporated into a plan by the government and ruling parties.

 麻生首相も基本的に了承しており、これがほぼそのまま政府・与党案になる見込みだ。

In May, the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda officially decided that road-related tax revenues would be incorporated into the general account from fiscal 2009 as part of reforms.

 道路財源の改革を巡っては、今年5月、当時の福田内閣が2009年度からの一般財源化を閣議決定した。

The decision was aimed at showing that the government, in its tug-of-war with the Democratic Party of Japan over the government's bid to keep the provisionally higher gasoline tax rate, was serious about overhauling how road-related tax revenues are spent. It also was intended for diverting allocations to expenditure items hit by the shortage of financial resources.

 ガソリン税の暫定税率に関する民主党との攻防で、改革姿勢を示すとともに、財源不足に悩むほかの歳出項目に予算を回すのが目的だった。

However, this idea of using road-related tax revenues for general purposes is almost nonexistent in the latest draft by the LDP project team. So what was the point of the Cabinet's decision? This question lingers in the minds of many.

 それが、今回の最終案ではほとんど見る影もない。何のための閣議決定だったのか、ということになろう。

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Aso's ambition rolled back

Noteworthy in the draft is the establishment of a "fund for building foundations to revitalize local areas," which will be financed with about 1 trillion yen to be distributed to local governments from the national budget for road construction and improvement projects. The plan calls for renaming the existing "provisional regional road improvement fund," which has about 700 billion yen, and injecting more funds.

 最終案で注目すべきは、「地域活力基盤創造交付金」を新設し、国の道路予算から約1兆円を地方に配分する、とした点だ。これまであった約7000億円の「地方道路整備臨時交付金」を衣替えして増額する。


Aso initially intended 1 trillion yen for local governments as tax allocations that could be used by the governments, with no strings attached.

 麻生首相は当初、1兆円を地方が自由に使える地方交付税にしたいとの意向を示していた。

Aso's plan was rolled back by LDP lawmakers championing road-related interests and top officials in the Construction and Transport Ministry, who were alarmed by the prospect of big chunks of the road construction budget being slashed, which would have come about if Aso had had his way.

 これが実現すると、道路建設に使われる予算が大幅に減りかねないと危機感を抱いた自民党道路族や国土交通省が巻き返した。

As a result, the LDP project team decided that the 1 trillion yen should be distributed in the form of fund allocations with usage restrictions, although they are less stringent compared with those imposed on subsidies.

 その結果、補助金よりは縛りが緩いものの、使途を限定できる交付金化で決着した。

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Some see it differently

While the existing regional road improvement fund is allocated for road construction in principle, the proposed fund could be allocated for various public works projects. The LDP project team explained that the scope of projects that could be financed by allocations from the new fund would be much broader.

 「整備交付金」が、原則道路建設に充当されるのに対し、「創造交付金」は公共事業全般に使えるとしており、自民党の作業チームは、使途が大きく広がると説明している。

But the LDP lawmakers championing road-related interests interpret the yet-to-be-created fund differently. They are pushing to have the transport ministry be in charge of distributing funds that are mostly for road-related projects. If that happens, it would be exactly what they wanted all along.

 だが道路族の理解は違う。交付金の配分を国交省に担当させ、道路関連に集中させる考えだ。道路族の思惑通りではないか。

Fiscal 2008 road-related tax revenues for the central government stand at about 3.3 trillion yen. Of this, 600 billion yen has been allocated to local governments as subsidies. The proposed fund would get 300 billion yen from this 600 billion yen.

 国の道路特定財源は、今年度予算で約3兆3000億円だ。このうち、6000億円の地方向け補助金から3000億円を「創造交付金」に移す。

The LDP is revving up its efforts to keep intact the remaining 300 billion yen in subsidies and 1.4 trillion yen for central government-administered road projects. It is therefore difficult to cut those expenditures during upcoming procedures to compile the fiscal 2009 budget.

 補助金の残り3000億円と、1兆4000億円の国の直轄道路事業費について、自民党は極力維持する方針で臨んでおり、予算編成作業での削減は、極めて難しい状況となっている。

As the nation faces dire financial straits, the government is struggling to find and secure financial sources for funding social security and other costs. Financial sources should be diverted from road-related budgets, which are said to have surpluses. But the current political morass is preventing this from happening.

 国の財政事情は厳しく、社会保障費などは、財源確保に四苦八苦だ。余剰とされる道路予算から財源を回すべきだが、政治の混迷がそれを妨げている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 5, 2008)

20081250153  読売新聞)

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