16 Sep 2011

Proposed CNMI allocation cuts labelled absurd

9:14 am on 16 September 2011

The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in the Northern Marianas says it is absurd that senators want to zero out the lawmakers' individual allocation.

The two houses of parliament are odds over the budget, risking a partial government shutdown by the beginning of next month.

Ray Basa says the cuts proposed to the lawmakers' allowance are such that the legislature might as well shut down.

The House proposal is to give each lawmaker a discretionary or operational budget of some 51,000 US dollars.

House members said without discretionary funding, lawmakers will also become office managers and community workers because they won't have money to hire staff and operate their offices.

Mr Basa says without operational funding close to 200 individuals would be jobless.