MB mulls a vetoing of expensive taxi law

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MB mulls a vetoing of expensive taxi law

President Lee Myung-bak has not ruled out the possibility of vetoing a recently passed law classifying taxis as a means of mass transport and providing state subsidies to the industry, an official said yesterday, because he’s concerned the measure could cost too much.

The ruling and opposition parties passed the taxi bill through parliament early Tuesday. It calls for including taxis in the category of mass transportation along with buses, subways and trains, a designation that makes the industry eligible for government subsidies and other benefits.

The law was a campaign pledge of both the ruling and opposition parties ahead of last month’s presidential election. But critics have denounced it as a populist measure aimed at winning the votes of taxi drivers and say the law would lead to tax hikes.

They said the law could cost the nation an additional 1.9 trillion won ($1.78 billion).

On Tuesday, the transportation ministry expressed regret over the law’s passage.

“There are a lot of negative opinions on whether taxis should be recognized as a mass transportation means ... If the taxi law is transferred to the cabinet, we will carefully deal with it,” a presidential official said, adding that the office has not ruled out the possibility of a veto.

But rejecting the bill is not an easy option because it could cause too much tension with parliament less than two months before the Lee administration leaves office.

“We are in a dilemma as the taxi law was passed by agreement between the ruling and opposition parties,” the official said. Yonhap

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