1 Oct 2010

Casino bill thought to be root of CNMI parliament stalemate

1:45 pm on 1 October 2010

A failed bill to establish a casino on Saipan is thought to be the root of a political stalemate in the Northern Marianas that has resulted in a partial shutdown of government services.

More than 14-hundred public servants holding so-called non-essential positions are now without salaries because the legislature failed to pass a balanced budget by last night's deadline.

The House and the Senate continue to disagree on a number of issues on their versions of a 132 million US dollar appropriations bill, the most contentious of which is the number of work hour cuts for public servants.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says no one will substantiate the rumours swirling around about why the chambers can't agree.

"I think there's a lot of politicking involved. There might be some proposals when it comes to revenue generating, you could say that, some revenue generating proposals that the House wants the Senate to approve and they would only come to the table and make compromise to the budget once those revenue-generating ideas are accepted."

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago.