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Monday, April 21, 2014

Flashback — Feb. 1999-Feb. 2002

Feb. 19, 1999

CNMI asks for help to restore cut CIP funds

Confronted with the worst economic slump in years, local leaders yesterday made twin appeals to visiting US lawmakers to help the CNMI battle a federal takeover attempt and restore a $16.2 million cut in infrastructure grants. Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio told congressional delegates, led by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Resources Committee, the implementation of such proposals would be disastrous to the island economy, already in grim situation because of the Asian financial crisis. “The economic impact of this loss will severely hurt us as we struggle to overcome our economic dilemma,” the governor said at the opening of the CNMI’s presentation of financial situation and labor and immigration reforms to committee members.

Young pledges to hear all sides

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio yesterday expressed hope that US Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Resources Committee and members of his delegation would discover the real issues confronting the CNMI during their three-day stay on the island. Young’s visit came amid renewed calls from Washington to federalize labor and immigration policies in the Northern Marianas after the 902 consultations between the CNMI panel and US President Clinton’s representative Edward B. Cohen bogged down last month. With the filing of a $1 billion lawsuit by the garment workers against manufacturers and buyers in California and Saipan, the Northern Marianas was described in various media entities in the United States as a slave island.

Feb. 19, 2001

Proposal to protect tobacco funds awaits Senate action

Measures that would install extra protection on use of funds from the settlement agreement with tobacco industry players are now awaiting action from the upper chamber of the CNMI Legislature following its passage at the House of Representatives. House Bill 12-290, authored by Representatives Malua Peter and Brigida Ichihara, has been sitting in the Senate for over one month now. It seeks to establish a Master Settlement Agreement Trust Fund for initial deposits received by the CNMI from a settlement agreement with tobacco manufacturing companies on a lawsuit filed by 46 American states and four territories, including the Commonwealth.

Legislature to NMC: regulation of colleges not unconstitutional

Officials of Eucon International School belied claims last week by the Northern Marianas College that establishment of colleges and universities on island is unconstitutional following the discovery of existing statute supporting the program. Eucon president Christian Wei said arguments of NMC Board of Regents regarding House Bill 12-192 or the establishment of post secondary institution in the Commonwealth are “invalid and totally wrong”.Even the legislature he said discovered existing statutes supporting the higher and adult continuing education in the CNMI.

Feb. 19, 2002

PSS saves $20M in 3 years

Cost-cutting measures implemented by the Public School System since Fiscal Year 1999 enabled the public institution to save as much as $20 million in three years, government records show. The cost savings represent funds that the PSS never had to ask the government for, in the wake of dipping government revenues. Data from the PSS’ Fiscal Outlook report covering FY1998 through 2002, presented by Education Commissioner Dr. Rita H. Inos to the Board of Education last week, reveals that the PSS achieved this feat by suspending employees’ within grade increases, decreasing central office staff by 55 percent and decreasing support staff in schools by five percent, among others. The suspension of WGI for PSS employees alone allowed the agency to save $2.7 million, while cutting back on central office staff paved the way for another $8.5 million in savings, records show.

Clamor grows for Article 12 amendment

As executive director of the Commonwealth Development Authority, MaryLou S. Ada said the restrictions of Article XII have not resulted into problems in giving out loans that need to be secured by real properties. “That doesn’t prevent anybody from obtaining any loan. So, Article XII is not a hindrance to obtaining a loan here at CDA,” Ada said. She explained that if the loan applicant is not an NMI descent, leasehold interest on real properties may be used as security. Most of the problems, she added, merely revolve on the ownership question on the land being offered as security.

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