President Park Geun-hye has voiced her opposition to raising taxes in order to fund welfare programs.
She said Monday that economic revitalization is the key to making up for any revenue shortfall for welfare and said that it will also help create jobs and raise tax revenue.
"It is unthinkable to tell the public that the government must collect more taxes because of tax revenue shortfalls when we have not put all our effort into revitalizing the economy."
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Since Park's administration came into office in 2013, her government has been dogged by questions about whether it could deliver on a key campaign pledge to provide expensive welfare programs without raising taxes.
She has even drawn criticism from her own ruling Saenuri Party, which views her stance on the issue as unrealistic.
Critics argue that the government is trying to squeeze more money out of ordinary wage earners.
In recent months, the government has raised cigarette prices and introduced a revised tax settlement scheme, drawing fire for both from the general public.
Adding fuel to the fire, the main opposition party's newly elected chairman, Moon Jae-in, vowed to fight President Park's tax policies on his first day in the post.
"I will stand against President Park Geun-hye's hidden motives to raise the taxes of ordinary citizens. I will go against plans to limit welfare expansion."
Moon pledged to raise the corporate tax rate and withdraw tax cuts for the rich in order to establish what he described as a fair tax system.
The ruling party responded by saying it will gather opinions from inside the party and continue to communicate with the opposition party on tax-related issues.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.