24 Sep 2011

CNMI $102M budget passed; shutdown averted

7:40 am on 24 September 2011

A partial government shutdown has been averted in the CNMI following the House and Senate's passage last night of a US$102-million budget bill that the governor is expected to sign shortly.

In back-to-back sessions, the House and Senate passed a compromise budget bill that increased the appropriations for the Public School System, Northern Marianas College, the Commonwealth Election Commission, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, and lawmakers' individual operational account.

The House and Senate approved a $30 million funding for PSS, and $5.2 million for NMC so both could meet their federal maintenance-of-efforts requirements.

The Commonwealth Election Commission's budget was almost restored to its 2011 of $265,866, while Joeten-Kiyu Public Library was given more at $217,299.

The approved compromise bill also gives the 29 lawmakers an annual allocation of $78,000, the same amount they're currently receiving.

However, this amount could still be subjected to cuts down the road.

The Executive Branch's funding is down to $28.33 million, from over $29 million in the House and Senate versions of the budget bill.