Senate committee product expected this week
The government-wide austerity measures is influencing ongoing fiscal year 2020 budget discussions at the Senate, according to Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee chair Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) yesterday.
He noted in an interview with Saipan Tribune that the committee is considering some provisions proposed in the Senate version “to reflect on the occurrence that is happening this [fiscal] year.”
These proposals were some of the major discussions since the start of budget talks. Such provisions include having funds appropriated specifically for a vacancy be re-appropriated to the Medical Referral program if the agency fails to hire someone before March 31, 2020.
Hofschneider added that if the agency fails to hire someone before the deadline, the agency would also lose the ability to hire for that specific position in the future.
In terms of a final Senate product, Hofschneider believes his committee will come up with an acceptable budget bill by the end of the week.
“We are pretty close. I am pressing the committee to have a working product to present to the whole [Senate] by the end of the week,” he said.
Fiscal year 2020 starts on Oct. 1, 2019, and ends on Sept. 30, 2020. The CNMI Legislature has to pass a final budget bill to send to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for review before the current fiscal year ends.