Aug. 9, 2000
NMC tuition competitive with other Pacific colleges
Compared to other two-year colleges in the Pacific, the Northern Marianas College offers a fairly competitive tuition rate, according to an in-house study commissioned by the college. Based on a survey of nine Pacific community colleges, NMC ranked 3rd among colleges offering the lowest resident student tuition rate at $65 per credit. The College of the Marshall Islands is recorded to have the highest tuition rate for its resident students at $95 per credit. Other state colleges in Hawaii, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia offer an average tuition ranging from $40 to $60 per credit.
AG warns Saipan mayor against appointment
Attorney General Herb Soll has warned Saipan Mayor Jose C. Sablan against appointing an acting mayor who will carry out official functions while he is off-island because it is unlawful to do so. The AGO's legal opinion was requested by Mayor Sablan who expressed concern on the earlier legal analysis made by lawyer David Wiseman that he had no constitutional authority to take such action. Mr. Wiseman advised that any acts performed by such a delegated person would be "highly questionable." In an effort to resolve the problem, Mr. Soll recommended to the Mayor's Office to draft and seek the passage of a local law for the appointment of an acting-Mayor.
Aug. 9, 2001
Bill to free Rota-bound devises from excise tax
The House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communication has recommended the passage of a bill that would suspend the collection of excise taxes on telecommunication machinery and equipment intended for Rota. According to panel chairman Rep. Rosiky F. Camacho, his committee recommended the passage of House Bill 12-056, also known as the “Excise Tax Abatement Act of 2000,” after finding out that it is a replica of Public Law 11-123, which was passed by a two-thirds vote of the Eleventh Legislature in 2000. The measure’s author, Vice-Speaker Alejo M. Mendiola Jr., had moved for the suspension of the excise tax on telecommunications equipment going to Rota, saying this will facilitate the installation of equipment necessary for the health and welfare of the people of Rota.
Security deposit weeds out nuisance investors
While experts have identified a three-pronged problem arising from the $100,000 security deposit required from foreign investors, the measure has generally helped the CNMI weed out nuisance or illegitimate businessmen. The Department of Commerce said the approach has served its purpose in screening legitimate foreign investors who are worthy of and qualified to receive long-term business permit from the CNMI government. Commerce officials said the requirement was established due to the abuses of the system in the past wherein investors would show proof that funds were deposited in their account, yet they did not really own those funds.
Aug. 9, 2002
Senate OKs beyond-the-cap salaries
The Senate has unanimously adopted a joint resolution that approves the salaries of government employees since October 1, 1999, that were beyond the ceilings set by law. It remains to be seen, however, if the House of Representatives will concur with the resolution, considering that it had earlier turned down a similar request by the Babauta administration. The upper chamber voted 9-0 to adopt Senate Joint Resolution 13-7 during a session yesterday afternoon, sanctioning the over-the-cap salaries of 169 government employees who have worked for the CNMI government within the period from October 1, 1999, to the present.
Reprogrammed funds support govt hospital
The Babauta administration has been reprogramming funds to support the needs of the Commonwealth Health Center, but it remained unclear whether or not the Department of Public Health’s spending level already exceeded the $31-million appropriation for this fiscal year. Public Health Secretary James U. Hofschneider said that there will be no interruption of health care, services as well as the work hours of its employees, even if the department had recently divulged that its spending level was already close to the budget level. Ironically, though, the secretary revealed that the department is currently reviewing its staffing to identify non-essential positions. Hofschneider said, however, that there would be no reduction in manpower.