Principles of Management of Public Finances
21. In last year's Budget, I stated my principles of management of public finances. These are: managing public finances prudently by keeping expenditure within the limits of revenues, maintaining a low and simple tax regime, and following the direction of "Market Leads, Government Facilitates". I also explained three basic principles that I have strictly adhered to, that is, pragmatism, commitment to society, and sustainability. These underlying principles serve the overall interests of Hong Kong.
22. I believe that public finances should be managed in such a way to respond to people's needs and aspirations. In face of economic recession, while keeping to our fiscal policies, I will make good use of the Government's resources to assist our citizens in overcoming their difficulties, with a view to breaking the vicious economic cycle and minimising the negative effects of the economic downturn.
23. Last year I put forward a package of measures to leave wealth with the people. During economic downturn, public finance can play a more effective role. Adopting more proactive fiscal policies is not to stifle the vitality of the market, but to give fuller play to the Government's role as a facilitator. I will pragmatically review the various economic segments and decisively inject impetus into the economy, in order to bolster market confidence and provide a better environment for enterprises to play to their strengths. I will also be sensitive to the needs of different sectors of the community and provide the necessary assistance.