House OKs reverting 10% of excise tax to solid waste revolving fund


The House of Representatives unanimously passed last week a bill that will allocate 10% of the excise tax to the Solid Waste Management Revolving Fund. The bill now goes to the Senate for action.

House Bill 22-46 HS1, authored by vice speaker Rep. Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan), will amend the Commonwealth Code to allocate not just 7% of the excise tax but a full 10% to the Solid Waste Management Revolving Fund.

Under the bill, 10% of excise taxes collected under the statute shall be reserved for the Solid Waste Management Revolving Fund of the Solid Waste Management Program, to be expended by the Department of Public Works secretary.

In an interview with Saipan Tribune last Thursday, Attao said his legislation reverts the share of the Solid Waste Management Revolving Fund in excise taxes back to 10%, as originally intended under Public Law 13-42. Back then, during the 13th Legislature, Public Law 13-42 created a 0.42 cent ad valorem excise tax. Attao said 10% of that money was supposed to be in a revolving account for Solid Waste Management.

He said that when the Puerto Rico dump was being closed out by the Tenorio-Pepero administration and completed by the Babauta-Benavente administration, one of the requirements was a funding source if the landfill were to be closed and a new one opened up. That was also a requirement in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant.

“Those monies are supposed to address the funding for that [opening a new landfill]. And this is a requirement that was put into place with EPA, and the transition from the Puerto Rico dump to the Marpi landfill,” Attao said.

Unfortunately, he said, under Public Law 18-64, the CNMI government took 3% of the 10% and gave it to non-governmental organizations.

“Unfortunately, the interpretation of that was misconstrued and [the Solid Waste Management Fund] is only getting, receiving 4%,” he said.

“Instead of 10%, it went down to 7%, then they are splitting this 7% to 3%-4%,” he said.

Attao said his bill will revert back the share of the Solid Waste Management Fund in excise taxes to 10%.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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