FY 2019 budget implosion


Can’t help but notice an increase in the CNMI’s fiscal year 2019 budget as trumpeted by the two legislative money bosses: Rep. Angel Demapan and Sen. Jude Hofschneider. Could we take such tidings to the bank?

Isn’t our southern neighbor literally struggling to make up the Trump tax cut of some $160 million? Was the NMI’s share cut? If so, by how much and could Demapan and Hofschneider explain whether this was factored into the reportedly bloated budget?

Just wanted to ensure thorough review of pertinent figures where the big boys may have fumbled the ball.

Christmas: As a retiree in my golden years with fixed income, I’d welcome freebies as offered by Rep. Alice Igitol in her plans to give NMDs MPLT fund interest.

I don’t know whether such a plan would materialize. But just the fact that she understands struggling families under a false economy is a confirmation of her conviction and compassion to help hard-hit folks at home.

With fixed income you yawn and sigh after paying for potent medication. There’s no room for extras! I’m sure it’s a mind-numbing situation for the 45,000 of our people caught in this vicious cycle.

I’ve been down the depths of the valleys of abject poverty to know how this experience feels. Nah! This isn’t a story I heard from neighborhood kids. I actually walked it for many years, first-hand, hands down!

The experience sharpened the humanity in my heart, mind and soul. Thus the persistent pestering of politicians to do something concrete to give the 15,000 employees earning poverty income some family buying power. Or is there collusion about economic improvement wrapped in falsity?

Memorial: This marks the 73rd anniversary of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, a national historic landmark. It was the bombing of that ship that forced our country to enter World War II in 1945. It was the beginning of the war in the Pacific.

WWII also ended in the bombing of Hiroshima shortly thereafter. It was on Tinian where the Enola Gay took off with the devastating atomic bomb to Japan. Now, isn’t it fitting to build a peace memorial on Tinian memorializing its role as the take off point that brought global peace since August of 1945? Even 84-year-old Emperor Akihito utters “remorse,” reiterating it’s good to remember and not repeat the folly of war.

Former senator David Cing has broached the idea, knowing it takes a decision and lots of money to bring it to fruition. I think both the idea and cost is really worth it. We should bring Abe and Trump to the opening ceremony, truly realizing global reconciliation. It’s an idea worth pursuing in the name of global peace in perpetuity!

Retirement: The delusional plan to re-establish the retirement fund is the perfect recipe for permanent bankruptcy of the fund. Appalling that politicians would present proposed policies whether they are workable or not, denies certain freedoms, and costs a boatload of money. Is Raffy Demapan now conversant of technical terms like “actuarial” or is his grandiose political plan still suffering from the benefits of due diligence?

Did you forget our experience with the unfunded liability that once stood at $789 million? Has this been paid off or what’s the balance today? Didn’t the unfunded liability debt emerge when the NMI government postponed paying employer’s contribution into the fund? So why march into the same bankruptcy once more? The fund’s trustee, Joyce Tang, is waving the red flag so we don’t fall flat on our face. The required sum is no small change either by any stretch of the imagination.

Of course, more often than, not shallow and shortsighted politicians would offer anything under the sun for votes. I mean, they even offer the pearly gates they’ve never even seen but courageously play Lali Fo` dumb juvenile skipjack. Dios mihu!

Appropriation: The casino law earmarks funds for the retirement and other programs successfully negotiated by the late governor Eloy Inos and the Senate. Now, there’s a plan by the Legislature to dispose of these funds via appropriation.

If this second attempt succeeds, I think it would stand court review, given that the authority to appropriate rests with the House of Representatives under a bicameral arrangement. Furthermore, the Constitution provides for legislative appropriation of all public funds before their expenditure. It’s a matter of staying constitutional.


Bust? We looked forward with hopeful anticipation to the projected boon in Garapan from the casino buildup. Unusual, though, how things have somewhat quieted down or has it gone bust? How about some report from the Development Plan Advisory Committee’s report detailing unfolding events? Or is this a highly secretive assessment limited to the eyes of the “we few?”

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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