18 Jun 2010

CNMI government pressed to adopt austerity measures

1:28 pm on 18 June 2010

The latest financial fiasco in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas is increasing pressure on lawmakers to pass austerity measures.

On Thursday the Legislature rushed through an appropriation to pay around three thousand government workers their wages, due today.

But the money, which is being borrowed from independent government agencies, won't be available until Wednesday next week.

It comes as the Governor Benigno Fitial continues to press for cuts to hours for most public servants, something the lawmakers have so far opposed.

Our correspondent Mark Rabago says the lawmakers fear the political repercussions from the move, but they're facing heightened pressure to back the Governor's call which many workers support.

"What would you rather have, having payless paydays or having trimmed ten hours every payday for employees. I think every government employee you'd ask would rather have cut hours than the spectre of not having paydays, or not having money for the weekend."