22 Sep 2010

CNMI govt may shutdown due to a failure to pass a budget

9:44 am on 22 September 2010

Civil servants in the Northern Marianas have been told to brace themselves for a possible government shutdown.

This follows the Legislature's failure to pass a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011.

In case of a shutdown, a majority of the islands' 4,000 government employees will not get paid from October 1 and 8, or at least until a new budget is passed.

A legislative conference committee on the budget bill failed yet again to come up with at least a draft version of a budget bill as of yesterday afternoon.

Fiscal year 2011 is due to start in a little over a week.

Lawmakers, including Senator. Luis Crisostimo, expressed disappointment the conference committee could not even report or share with other lawmakers the progress of their closed-door meetings, which began last week.

Only essential employees in critical service agencies will be exempt from a government shutdown, should the Legislature fail to pass a balanced budget before October 1.

The administration of Governor Benigno Fitial is expected to soon finalize a list of critical/essential positions exempted from the shutdown.