Constructive policies


Policies are designed to improve the quality of life of people at home. Elected and appointed officials work on a set of plans to move things forward.

Right now, the drop in revenue necessitates cuts in expenses that prompted the work hour reduction to 64 hours biweekly. It’s based on our revenue going south, thus the need to live within our means. It’s a must to stay afloat.

It’s a tough situation having recently recovered from the destruction of Typhoon Yutu. Today, we’re on full guard for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a deadly respiratory disease spreading steadily throughout the global village.

I fail to see the elected elite converging to take incisive review of policies that have succeeded or failed to make amends to improve life on the islands.

As such there emerges persistent half-cocked policy enforcement or negligence altogether. Or did I miss my bus ride on this score?

Why is there the persistent refusal to resolve our issues in straightforward and timely fashion? Eh, the “tide waits for no man.” Either we put our best foot forward or watch in frustration as others do it for us without our participation.

Moreover, it’s for the public good if those tasked to assist in fact fulfill fiduciary duty daily. In other words, you must earn your dues! Otherwise, you turn into another inconsequential employee who goes home with unearned loot at the expense of taxpayers.

The $48.3 million budgetary shortfall signals a huge decrease in local revenue. Concurrently, it confirms negative economic activities on the islands.

We’re beneficiaries of the huge drop in the global economy where no one is spared! I suppose we could blame on COVID-19 spreading quickly throughout the global village.

It is an issue that merits serious ocular review by the elected elite. The fact that we would have far less revenue the more critical it is that we review and dispose of the issue rationally.

The visitor industry is also adversely affected, with hotels having to cut work hours forthwith. There’s a significant drop in visitor numbers, thus the concurrent reduction in occupancy. Bottom line: less revenue in both sectors! It doesn’t leave room for complacency.

An overview is a must that includes revenue generation, current and mounting obligations and what costs we could pay with our scarce financial resources.

“Nice-to-have” expenses must be parked until further notice. We could only afford paying for “must-have” costs in public services.

The recent return to Japan of Nippon investments dovetailed by the exit of other investments has adversely affected the NMI coffers. It means bracing for some sacrifice domesticating spending, full measure.

Can’t afford complacency on this matter and not when it comes down to pennies, nickels, and dimes. It prompts prudence in spending. Neither does arrogance the very local attitude that forced departure of investors.

Other than useless marshland reed, is there anything in the local economy we could rely upon for steady cushioning?

About two years ago, personal intuition flags something bad is headed our way, though unsure what the beast was about.

It’s here in simple arithmetic as we eye the annual budget: 10 minus nine equals one! Indeed, it’s a challenge for those at the helm in charge of diminishing funds against mounting obligations.

Over the last 40 years I’ve heard the elected elite mouth off on the dire need to cut the cost of government operations. The same advice still echoes from Da Hills of Saipan today.

Even more interesting is the obvious lack of resolve to put what’s said into action. For instance, if we really have the resolve to do things right, what’s the delay in reducing the 29-member bicameral Legislature to a 10-member unicameral system that also cost far less than the current $4.8 million annually?

Moreover, does the NMI really need more than 2,000 employees paid at least $17 million every 10 days? This only includes civil servants, not political hires. When do we buckle down to real cuts so the money is used on meaningful programs to help taxpayers muddle along?

Investments have stagnated while we ponder where this canoe is headed against towering stormy waves of mounting obligations. It’s a matter of policy, isn’t it? Where necessary, it simply means reinventing or cancelling paradigms to cut spending as a matter of course until the economy is founded on solid foundation.

The U.S. Senate made history last week when it acquitted President Trump without the commission of a crime. Since when do we put people in jail while we look for crimes to fit suspicion?

Fragmented Dems have three contenders looking to represent the party as its presidential candidate. The division would intensify that compromises unity from A-Z. It sets Trump to wear Number 45!

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.
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