Members of the House of Representatives are set to officially address a resolution to adopt the $148.5-million budget proposed by the administration of Gov. Eloy S. Inos for fiscal year 2016.
The House of Representatives has included the budget resolution as part of the agenda in a session scheduled on Friday.
Rep. Antorio P. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, filed House Concurrent Resolution 19-01, detailing the proposed budget.
After adopting the resolution, lawmakers will then convene government departments and conduct budget hearings.
Sablan said the “bigger” departments will most likely have first crack at the budget hearings, including the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., particularly Medical Referral, and Department of Finance.
Sablan said lawmakers want to find out what has been done to encourage tax compliance, as well as the proper recording of tax obligations, particularly income tax.
The collection of taxes falls under the Revenue and Tax Division of the Finance Department.
Sablan said one of these concerns is the declining income tax collection. He said there are a lot businesses coming up and the tourism industry is apparently booming. However, income tax collection continues to decline, the lawmaker said. He added that tax collections in other areas have been increasing and that the decline in income tax collection has been happening in 2014 and 2013.
In a separate interview, Rep. Joseph Lee Pan Guerreo (R-Saipan) said he will ask his colleagues in the House to make the budget hearing for the Marianas Visitors Authority one of its priorities.
Guerrero said he will take the opportunity to clarify a few questions with the MVA during the hearings, particularly funding.