Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz has expressed disappointment over the House of Representatives' proposal to cut Tinian's funding level for fiscal year 2012-2013.
In a letter addressed to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos on July 11, Dela Cruz said he was dismayed with Rep. Ramon S. Basa's (Cov-Saipan) decision to slash Tinian's budget.
“I wish to clearly express my disappointment with Rep. Ramon S. Basa, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for his unilateral decision to cut the appropriation to Tinian against your wish to increase our budget,” he wrote.
Basa is the main author of the proposed $114-million budget bill. Under the 36-page House Bill 17-313 pre-filed last July 11, Tinian was allocated just $4.566 million or $471,093 less than the $5.037 million originally earmarked by Fitial in his budget plan.
Dela Cruz said the cuts are unwarranted considering Tinian's efforts to improve its tourism industry as well as local economy.
“As you are well aware, we have worked hard at improving our tourism industry and have significantly increased our BGR (business gross receipts) collections. If anything, our budget needs to be increased, as you have suggested so that we can continue to expand business opportunities in this CNMI community,” he said.
The proposed cut in Tinian's 2012-2013 funding comes even as Rota's appropriation was increased in Basa's budget proposal, from the $4.371 million originally set aside by the Executive Branch to $4.566 million, the same level to be given to Tinian.
Dela Cruz told Fitial and Inos that he will soon meet with his resident department heads and will direct them to review their budget submissions in light of the increased revenue projections.
“I expect to submit a revised 2013 budget for the Municipality of Tinian and Aguiguan in mid-August for your consideration,” he stated.
In the same letter, Dela Cruz urged Fitial and Inos to reinstate the full 80 hours of government employees at the soonest possible time.
“This is to express my foremost expression of support with some of the legislators' opinion that our government employee should immediately be returned to a 40-hour work week. For too long, they have suffered under a 20-hour cut in salary,” he said.
Dela Cruz said the austerity measure for civil servants has had a domino effect in the local economy.
“It has not only hurt their families, but also hurt our local businessmen, has reduced business gross receipts tax collections, and has restricted the delivery of public services. I urge you to immediately reinstate our employees to their full 80-hour biweekly,” he said.