For years, debt-ridden Chinese local governments have been facing lots of fiscal challenges. During the recent “Two Sessions,” Wu Sufang, the Beijing city government’s Finance Bureau Chief asked for the central government to step up its support. On March 7, Wu publicly stated that Beijing is facing a “slowdown in the growth of its fiscal revenue,” and 2019 is the “tightest year for a balanced budget.”
Wu added that the centrally-administered state-owned enterprises and their branches, the financial industry, and high-tech enterprises are relocating (outside of Beijing). This is having a major impact on Beijing’s industrial growth and fiscal revenue.
An article in the official media pointed out that the primary reason for the difficulty with Beijing’s finances is the “cleaning up of Beijing’s migrant population.” Starting in late 2017, Beijing launched campaigns to evict the migrant population. The decline in Beijing’s population has led to the relocation of industries such as manufacturing, retail, wholesale, transportation, and warehousing. The consequence was that the GDP and the tax revenue decreased.
The second reason is the housing market. The central government’s crackdown on real estate speculation affected Beijing’s official land sales revenue and real estate investments have declined. The third reason is China’s effort to cut taxes to keep the economy from further going south.
Source: Central News Agency, March 19, 2019