Prior to heading off to New York last week, I (along with a lot of other people) expressed my disappointment with the tepid and ill-directed budget. One of my specific gripes was the daft proposal to benefit the fund management industry by paying $6,000 per eligible recipient into MPF plans. The Financial Secretary subsequently caved into pressure, cancelling the gift to the fund management industry and substituting a cash payment to every Hong Kong permanent resident.
While it would have been more equitable and "fairer" for the excess taxation to be returned to the people who gave the money to the government in the first place (i.e. the taxpayers), in many respects I don't mind a near-universal cash distribution. It's a definite improvement over the previous MPF related proposal and reduces the excessive build of "reserves" held by the government (HK$1.3 trillion + at the last count). Also, given the rise of inflation some of the lower income groups could use some financial assistance.