Hong Kong's Budgetary Failure of Nerve

Hong Kong has a new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, who promised many changes when he took office last July. But the first annual budget since he came to office shows that nothing has changed. The government is stuck in a rut, dependent more than ever on land revenue and taxes of property and share transactions leading to large surpluses which it endeavors to spend in mostly unproductive ways. That is perhaps not surprising given that Leung kept on as his Financial Secretary John Tsang, a bureaucrat with a long history of budgets dominated by knee-jerk measures and devoid of strategic or even tactical thinking.

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