A combination of tepid tourism numbers and record-low taxes from the lone casino operator on Saipan has placed the Northern Marianas in a financial crunch.
The CNMI is expecting a budget shortfall of $US29 million this fiscal year, as the islands continue to rebound from the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit Saipan and Tinian in October last year.
The Department of Finance reported that from October 2018 to April 2019, the casino gross revenue tax collected was just $US41,000, compared with the $US43.6 million of the previous year.
Compounding this has been the fall in tourism numbers.
In March this year the CNMI welcomed a total of 32,295 compared to 53,714 in March 2018.
Our correspondent said the government is also concerned it will not meet its $US23 million obligation to retirees this year.