19 Apr 2010

CNMI governor disappointed Senate watered down austerity measures

1:55 pm on 19 April 2010

The Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas is is disappointed the Senate has passed a watered-down version of the Austerity Bill.

The Senate version of the the bill calls for a cut in rebate amounts from 2011 to 2014 and imposes new fees and a hiring freeze to make up for the government's 17 million US dollar revenue shortage.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says the version that passed also removes the provision for a 10-hour work reduction every fortnight.

"Apparently the Senate doesn't want to lose some votes, and some sympathy from the population, so it is passing the buck, as the public information (officer) said, to the executive to make the necessary cuts and painful move to have employees go through the payless paydays and furloughs and even termination."

Mark Rabago says the bill now returns to the House of Representatives, where the Speaker has already promised to ensure it doesn't pass.