Proposal brings cheer to middle-class families

(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2007-03-01 08:40

The tax relief on salaries, property and alcohol in Financial Secretary Henry Tang's budget speech brought cheer to middle-class families who believe the concessions, which aim to "share the fruit of economic prosperity", will help build a harmonious and prosperous community.

37-year-old Jimmy Cheung, a father of two, was happy with the proposed budget policy. He said the "always people first" budget policy impressed him.

"I quite often feel so very stressed-out by various outrageous expenses. I have pretty decent paycheck. However, the salaries tax along with various kinds of bills take away nearly everything, and I have two kids to support. The proposed budget plan makes me feel somewhat relieved, especially the child allowance," said Cheung, who works as an IT specialist.

"My two kids, 13 and 8, are in secondary school and primary school respectively. The tuition and school-related expenses account for a good part of our living costs," he said.

In keeping with the budget's "always people first" spirit and reduction of the financial burden on parents, Tang said the child allowance for each child would be raised from HK$40,000 to HK$50,000.

Cheung also believes the additional one-off HK$50,000 allowance for each child in the year of birth would be very encouraging for parents-to-be. As Hong Kong's aging population trend continues, the government should launch favorable policies to increase birth rate.

"As for myself, I have already provided good contribution to the community by having two children, two is enough," he said with a smile.

Commenting on the deduction for self-education expenses, Cheung's 39-year-old wife, Sally Ng, who is taking business management courses in the Open University of Hong Kong, said she welcomed the proposal to encourage people to seek continuing education.

"The idea is great; it is in line with the need of the transaction of knowledge-based economy," said the human resource manager. "Although the raise is not big enough, I hope the deduction could be bigger," she added.

According to Tang's budget speech, the stamp duty on property transactions worth HK$1 million would be reduced from 0.75 percent of the property price to a fixed HK$100, which is in line with the amount for properties valued at or below HK$1 million.

The Cheung couple, who owns a 65-square-meter two-bed-room flat in North Point, said they understand the financial secretary's goodwill that will benefit about 30,000 home buyers and cost the government about HK$250 million a year.

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