THE proposed election expense ceiling of $180,000 for the nine new functional constituencies is too low, legislators say. The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Nicholas Ng Ming-fui, unveiled the Government's proposal on the expense limit for various types of Legco elections this September. He said the ceiling for geographical elections would remain at $200,000 because, although constituency sizes were half of those in 1991, inflation had gone up by about 50 per cent in the past four years. Mr Ng said the proposed $180,000 for the nine new functional constituencies reflected their relatively large electorate size, averaging about 300,000, and the fact the electors were scattered throughout Hong Kong. He said the basic principle was that the limits must not be so high that they deterred poor candidates nor so low as to make it difficult for candidates to mount an effective campaign. Liberal Party member Henry Tang Ying-yen - who has said he might run for one of the new functional constituencies - said the proposed $180,000 was inadequate. He suggested at least $2 for each voter, which meant a ceiling of $600,000. He said compared with the geographical elections, campaigns for the nine functional constituencies would require many more posters, elections boards and leaflets. Tam Yiu-chung of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong also said $180,000 was too low. While he had no idea what the appropriate ceiling should be, he noted it should at least be higher than that for geographical elections. Democrat Yeung Sum urged the Government to reconsider the proposal, saying the level was too low for an effective campaign. Mr Ng said the figures were only preliminary proposals and comments and alternative proposals were welcomed. Firm recommendations would be put to the Executive Council in early May. The Government also suggested a ceiling of $50,000 for the election committee, $80,000 for existing functional constituencies except for the Urban Council, Regional Council and rural constituencies, for which a limit of $50,000 was recommended.