FY 2020 budget is 9.6% less than FY 2019 amount


At a total of over $233.22 million, the Legislature-approved version of the government budget for fiscal year 2020 is $258.13 million less than the fiscal year 2019’s budget of $258.13 million, reflecting a 9.6% drop.

Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit Saipan and Tinian, and Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck Rota, all happened during the last five months of fiscal year 2019.

All government offices will see less generous budgets in fiscal year 2020 as a result.

The Judiciary’s fiscal year 2020 budget of $5.66 million is 17.27% less than fiscal year 2019’s $6.85 million; the Legislature’s fiscal year 2020 budget of $6.75 million is a 4.63% decrease from fiscal year 2019’s $7.08 million budget; and the Executive Branch—including the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s offices and the departments under it—saw a large 18.26% difference in the fiscal year 2020 budget of $42.41 million compared to fiscal year 2019’s $51.89 million budget.

Fiscal year 2020 appropriations for Rota are 5.67% lower than the previous year at $8.96 million compared to fiscal year 2019’s $9.5 million. Tinian appropriations share a similar fate, with a difference of roughly over 7.71% after $8.96 million was appropriated in fiscal year 2020 and $9.71 million in fiscal year 2019.

Saipan appropriations saw a 6.96% difference from fiscal year 2020’s appropriation of $3.54 million and fiscal year 2019’s appropriation of $3.81 million.

The Saipan, Tinian, and Rota appropriations include allocations to their respective mayor’s offices, Department of Public Safety offices, Department of Public Works offices, public libraries, and Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services offices, among others.

The Northern Marianas College is appropriated $5.96 million in fiscal year 2020, a 13.10% increase—one of few increases in the fiscal year 2020 budget bill—from their fiscal year 2019 appropriation of $5.27 million.

Other increases noted in fiscal year 2020 compared to the previous fiscal year are for the budgets for the Micronesian Legal Services Corp. at $145,145 compared to its previous allocation of $100,000; Medicaid reimbursements of over $5.3 million compared to the previous $4.64 million; and the Medicaid Agency’s $204,981 compared to $177,724 previously.

The Public School System, which is constitutionally entitled to receive an annual appropriation that is at least 25% of “general funds,” was appropriated $37.71 million in fiscal year 2020—an 11.99% decrease compared to fiscal year 2019’s $42.86 million. The fiscal year 2020 appropriation, however, meets the CNMI Constitution’s mandate setting of at least 25% of “general funds.”

The Office of the Attorney General is currently reviewing Rep. Ivan A. Blanco’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 21-64, or the fiscal year 2020 budget bill.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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