A while ago I asked what the priorities were concerning the upcoming budget year. It is starting to appear as though the main priority is maintaining the status quo.
The over-bloated Legislative Branch is interested in procuring tablets, unnecessary toy trinkets. Trinkets that wont be used by some come January. This, as they muddle through a half-hearted debate about whether they should cut their discretionary funds or shrink the size of their inflated organization.
In the meantime, the Public School System is having a hard time paying its electric bills. Unexplained increases in the next budget will be going to put back non-essential public employees to an 80-hour work week. Non-essential services will be restored. But are these services needed anymore?
Its not the cry for services that are behind this move. So one has to ask what type of political system is being run in the CNMI. Is it a capitalistic system or a socialist system? The medical infrastructure is in shambles. Why wasn't this unexplained budget increase used to help shore-up that? Or is there no real intention to do so?
The local utility organization is having a hard time rising capital to repair and replace its infrastructure. It needs cash. Yet the local government does not pay its electric bills. Were the leaders ever intending to pay these outstanding bills? The Retirement Fund is another example. A judge ruled that the government owes the Fund money. Another judge called the treatment of the Fund shameful. Were the leaders ever intending to pay this obligation? Some citizens can afford to pay their own way off-island to seek medical assistance, because its not available in the CNMI. The others have to pray more. Utility rates are among the highest in the country. What a way to address the concerns of the citizens. Improve the infrastructure. NO! Instead provide non-essential services. And who doesn't think that these non-essential services will be cut around spring by some unexplained, unforeseen, unexpected emergency.
There is talk of a pension bond to fix the Retirement Fund, but there is resistance regarding the bond. No CNMI tax payer wants to pay the possible (if it can be sold) $30 million a year in interest. But who is thinking of the $50 million a year that will be gone, sucked completely out of the local economy, in about 23 months when the fund dries up? This is not including the multiplier effect this money has plus the added cost of helping those destitute pensioners. All this while the food stamp lines get longer and longer and private sector wants more time for their contract workers to stay here.
This sounds like a real pickle. How can things improve for the future? If things continue with the status quo how will this place look in 30 months? What is the attraction to bring in new businesses? What is the incentive to keep remaining businesses from moving? What kind of a place is this?