行政區域如何劃分?

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1993 / 11月

文‧李光真


新竹縣曾是台灣北部一大富縣,農工商發展蓬勃,但自從民國七十一年新竹市從中獨立出來後,許多資源隨之而去。如今新竹縣地方窮聲音小,光彩盡被兄弟市搶走,「自治」的機能打了折扣。

行政區劃,是地方自治成敗的一大關鍵,如何讓每個區域都能有合理的轄區和財源,是在落實地方自治時不能忽略的。


你能想像,中央政府所在地的台灣,曾經也是大中國鞭長莫及的「邊疆地區」?

台灣光復初期,政府尚未遷來台灣,省的自治權限大得很,農、林、漁、牧、交通等,都在省府職權內。後來中央政府遷台,無疑地會和省府職權重疊,因此常為了爭取權限、資源而產生矛盾,甚至產生許多不甚合理的設計。

譬如鐵路局和公賣局,名義上都是「省」的單位,但因為獲得中央政府授權,可以掌管「全國」的鐵路和菸酒業。而省水利局卻遭遇不同,名義上水利局掌管全「省」的河川,因此台北、高雄兩直轄市內的河川它管不到;要整治河川時,必須由中央出面去協商。

總統與省長誰大?

也正因為台灣省政府和現階段中央政府的轄區實在太過接近(兩者轄區面積有九十八%重疊、人口有八十%重疊!),因此從結構面來說,不少學者與立法委員都質疑,現今維持四級制(見附表),體制繁複,是否有必要?

台中市長林柏榕指出,由於體制為四級制,層層管制,事事請示,而且省與中央權責有若干重疊,「好事大家搶,燙手山芋大家推」,間接造成行政效率低落、人力資源浪費。

譬如台中市的都市計畫,須經過省府及中央審查,民國七十年底送上去,七十五年初才核定發佈,光是通過法定程序就花了四年多;甚至省府同意後,若中央還有意見,省又把計畫退回台中市府,公文旅行又回到原點。

「省府若只是公文『過水』的中繼站,又何必多此一舉呢?」一位倡議「廢省」的學者表示。

然而論及廢省,茲事體大。一方面由中央政府直轄各縣市,會給人「中華民國政府就是台灣政府」的聯想,進而引發「統獨」爭議;二來目前和「省」有關的法令有數百種,修法工程浩大。再說,現在省府所屬的一百多個單位,二萬六千名行政人員將何去何從,也是問題。

因此在內政部的構想中,未來台北縣市和高雄縣市都將合併,台灣地區將成為一大省兩大市,中央轄下有二千一百萬居民,省轄下則約有一千三百萬居民,差距將可拉大。

「但若出現總統直選競爭激烈,當選票數只有四百萬;省長卻以六百萬票當選,誰說的話比較大聲?!」立法委員高育仁質疑。

省的定位備受爭議,目前行政院也尚未定案,仍在研議中。而另一方面,鄉鎮的存廢,也令人煞費思量。

分分合合莫在意

根據憲法,最小自治單位只有到「縣」,但台灣四十年來,依照「台灣省各縣市實施地方自治綱要」,鄉鎮及縣轄市也一直具有「自治法人」(具有獨立財政、立法、人事、計畫等權限的行政單位)的地位。此次「省縣自治法」草案中更明列鄉鎮市為地方自治的一級,算是正式「扶正」。

目前台閩地區有三百零九個鄉鎮市,許多偏遠的鄉鎮不過幾千名居民,沒什麼課稅收入,也談不上什麼自治權限,「靠自己根本活不了,只是形式存在罷了」,有人指出。

然而,只要名義上是自治單位,就難免會有本位主義。而現代社會,很多新興問題都是跨區域的,環保就是其中一大項;鄉鎮範圍太小,難免劃地自限。譬如全省鄉鎮市在居民壓力下,「垃圾大戰」頻傳,因此若要保留鄉鎮自治,適度的合併裁撤有其必要。

行政區劃,本是為行政方便而調整,隨不同發展階段而變化,分分合合,無論行政主管或百姓,實應以平常心對待才是吧!

〔圖片說明〕

P.86

台灣行政區域演變圖

1.日據台灣五州三廳(民國34年光復前)

2.八縣九市(光復初期∼民國38年)

3.十六縣五市(民國40年)

4.十六縣五市二直轄市(民國71年迄今)

※資料來源:省文獻會、內政部

圖表繪製.李淑玲(chart by Lee Su-ling)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Redrawing Administrative Boundaries

Laura Li /tr. by Robert Taylor

Hsinchu County was once a large, rich county in the north of Taiwan, with flourishing agriculture, industry and commerce. But when Hsinchu City was made independent of the county in 1982, many resources were lost to Hsinchu County, which today is a poor place whose voice is barely heard. With all its glory snatched away by its younger brother the city, the county's "self-governing" status has also taken a blow.

How administrative boundaries are defined is crucial to the success or failure of local government. How to give each administrative unit a reasonable area over which to govern and a reasonable source of income is an aspect which cannot be neglected when implementing local self-determination.


Can you imagine that Taiwan, the seat of the Central Government, was once a "border region" of Greater China, where the government's influence was small?

In the period just after Taiwan returned to Chinese rule at the end of the Japanese occupation, but before the Central Government relocated to Taiwan, the autonomous powers of the Province were enormous, with agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport and so on all falling under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government. Later, when the Central Government moved to Taiwan, it was obvious that its functions would overlap with those of the Provincial Government. This created conflicts over resources and the limits of authority, and even led to many unreasonable arrangements.

For instance, the Taiwan Railway Administration and the Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau are both nominally "provincial" agencies, but under the powers invested in them by the Central Government, they have control of the railways and of the tobacco and alcoholic drinks industries of the "whole country." But the provincial Water Conservancy Bureau has met with a different fate, for although in name the Bureau has charge of the rivers of the "whole province," in fact this means that it has no control over the rivers within the boundaries of the two special municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung, which are directly subordinate to the Central Government. Thus when the Bureau wishes work to be done on those rivers, it has to expend a lot of time and energy in roundabout consultations via the Central Government.

Who is more powerful--the President or the Provincial Governor?

Because the areas of jurisdiction of the Taiwan Provincial Government and, in the present period, of the Central Government really are too similar (their two jurisdictions overlap to 98% in terms of area and 80% in terms of population1), many scholars and Legislative Yuan members question whether maintaining the present four-tier structure (see table), with all its complexities, is still really necessary.

Lin Po-jung, Mayor of Taichung City, observes that under the four-tier system, each level tries to exercise control, and higher authority has to be consulted on every matter. Because of this and the degree of overlap between the power and responsibilities of the Provincial and Central Governments, "everyone tries to grab the popular projects, while offloading the political hot potatoes." This indirectly leads to a lack of administrative efficiency and to wasted effort and resources.

For instance, Taichung City's urban development plan had to be approved by both the Provincial and the Central Governments. The plan was submitted in late 1981, but was not ratified and released until early 1986. Just this legally required procedure took over four years, and if after gaining the approval of the Provincial Government, to which Taichung City is subordinate, the Central Government had still had objections and the Provincial Government had returned the plan to the City Government, the entire process would have gone back to square one.

"If the Provincial Government is just a 'rest stop' for official documents, why do we need it?" asks one scholar who proposes "scrapping the Province."

But to do away with the Province would be no small step. On the one hand, if the Central Government had direct jurisdiction over all the counties and cities, it would give people the impression that "the ROC Government is purely and simply the government of Taiwan," and this would spark off a "unification versus independence" controversy. Secondly, there are currently many hundreds of laws and ordinances which refer to the "Province," and to revise all this legislation would be an enormous task. In addition, what to do with the hundred or more agencies now under the control of the Provincial Government, along with their 260,000 staff, would also be a problem.

That is why under the concept proposed by the Ministry of the Interior, in future Taipei City and County would merge, as would Kaohsiung City and County. The island of Taiwan would comprise a province and two large municipalities, with 21 million residents under the jurisdiction of the Central Government, of which only around 13 million would also be under the Provincial Government. This would reduce the overlap between them.

"But if there was a close-run direct presidential election, and a president was elected with 4 million votes, while a provincial governor was elected with 6 million votes, whose words would count for more?!" asks Legislator Kao Yu-jen.

The definition of the status of the Province is a controversial issue, and at present the Ministry of the Interior has still not finalized its proposals, which are still under discussion. On the other hand, the retention or abolition of the townships and rural townships is also a knotty problem.

Mergers and divisions should not raise hackles:

According to the ROC Constitution, the smallest self-governing administrative unit is the "county;" but for the last 40 years, under the "Outline for Implementation of Local Self-Government by Counties and Cities in Taiwan Province," townships, rural townships and cities subordinate to counties in Taiwan have continuously had the status of "self-governing legal entities" (adminis trative units with independent financial, legislative, personnel, planning and other powers). In the draft "Provincial and County Self-Government Law" now before the Legislative Yuan, townships, rural townships and cities are clearly referred to as a tier of local government, and this can be seen as officially "setting the record straight."

At present in Taiwan, Kinmen and Matsu there are a total of 309 townships, rural townships and county-administered cities, and many townships and rural townships in remote areas have no more than a few thousand inhabitants, who generate no tax income to speak of. Someone has remarked that these entities have no real self-governing powers, and that "there is no way they could survive on their own; they really exist in name only."

However, if a self-governing administrative unit exists so much as in name, the pursuit of narrow self-interest is almost bound to emerge. In today's society, many new problems cut across administrative boundaries. Environmental protection is one of the most important. The small size of the townships and rural townships limits their outlook. For instance, under pressure from their residents, townships, rural townships and county-administered cities all over the province have repeatedly engaged in "garbage wars." Thus if one wishes to retain the self-governing capacity of the townships and rural townships, appropriate mergers and dissolutions are a necessity.

After all, administrative boundaries should be adjusted to facilitate administration, and changes, divisions and mergers in accordance with different stages of development are surely something which should be regarded as completely normal by administrators and ordinary citizens alike!

[Picture Caption]

p.86

Taiwan's Changing Administrative Districts

Five Prefectures and Three Territories of the Japanese Era (In 1945 before retrocession)

Eight Counties and Nine Cities (After retrocession, 1949)

16 Counties and Five Cities (1951)

16 Counties, Five Cities and Two Special Municipalities (Since 1982)

Source: Provincial Historical Research

Commission, Ministry of the Interior

(chart by Lee Su-ling)

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