15 Sep 2010

House rejects Senate version of CNMI budget

1:27 pm on 15 September 2010

In the Northern Marianas, members of the House of Representatives and Senate will meet today to try and resolve issues surrounding the Commonwealth's budget.

Yesterday, the House rejected the Senate's version of the 132 million US dollar budget bill, forcing both houses into a conference committee.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says work hour cuts and lawmakers' discretionary and leadership accounts are points that cannot be agreed upon.

But he says a resolution must be found before the end of this month.

"The government has an October 1 deadline which they have to deliver a balance budget that the Governor, Benigno Fitial, should sign, so if they don't do that then the government will have to shut down as mandated by the constitution on October 1."

Mark Rabago says additional funding for essential agencies, and giving more to Rota and Tinian are other issues that need to be looked at.