‘Salary hikes of elected officials not a priority’

Posted on Apr 26 2017

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House Ways and Means committee chair Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) said they would not prioritize the salary increase of elected officials on Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ proposed budget for the coming fiscal year and would focus more in funding the critical areas of the Commonwealth.

Demapan said the committee has been aware that complying on what was stated in Public Law 19-83 was part of the budget proposal submitted by Torres to the Legislature on March 31.

“As we go along, in our statement and in our quest to fund critical areas, [the elected officials’ salary increase] would not certainly be one of the highest priorities of the committee,” said Demapan.

“If it requires for us to take away funding from that in order to fund critical areas and services, then that is something the committee would do. It will not be our top priority to fund salary hikes. We would do critical services first and go down to other priorities and if there’s any excess, we would follow PL 19-83.”

PL 19-83 is an act to enact a new base salary schedule and increase the salary ceiling for classified civil service government employees, and increasing the salaries of all elected officials. Torres has identified funding for the wage increase.

The salary schedule and salary ceiling increase of classified civil service government employees had been implemented as it was part of FY 2017’s budget. However, the salary hike for elected officials was delayed since there was no funding source.

Torres allocated $1,245,158.22 for the wage adjustment of elected officials, legislators—20 House members and nine senators—and the four mayors of Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the Northern Islands.

A budget of $737,589 is for the salary increase of House members, while $356,904 for the nine senators. A total of $150,665.22 is allotted for the municipal mayors of Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the Northern Islands.

Demapan said funding for the Legislative Bureau had been cut under Torres’ $145,260,075 FY 2018 budget proposal. The total funding for the Legislature, with the LB, in FY 2018 is $7,925,336.

“The governor’s proposal reflects a decrease in funding [for LB]. So, some salaries of our LB officials and some funds for operational needs are reduced from what they are today. One of the options we are looking at is to tap the money from the salary hike to restore LB’s needs,” Demapan added.

“All across the board in this budget, we are still reviewing it, it is a lengthy proposal, one thing that the consensus with the committee is to ensure that we adequately fund the critical areas and services of community before anything else.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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