The CNMI government reported total revenue collections of $125.15 million in fiscal year 2015—short by about $9.18 million compared to the projected revenue for the fiscal year. That means the government’s total expenditures exceeded revenues appropriated in last year’s Budget Act, with a total expenditure of $143.43 million. The net effect of revenue and expenditures resulted in a deficit of $9.1 million for the fiscal year, the annual report from the Office of the Governor stated.
The shortfall is largely blamed on Typhoon Soudelor, the passing of nine typhoons last fiscal year, and IT&E’s massive network outage in July.
Revenue collections and other financing sources recorded for the year—not including those reserved for debt service and transfers out—totaled $133.6 million or $9.18 million less than projected, the report states.
The Commonwealth was showing signs of recovery in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, as evidenced by some of the increases in collections in revenue from new construction and other investment activities, according to the report.
However, that growth was suddenly halted by IT&E’s telecommunications breakdown in July, Typhoon Soudelor in August, and Typhoon Champi, which followed soon after.
“Disruptions of power and technology impacted the ability of the Commonwealth to maintain the expected levels of economic activity,” Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said.
Business gross revenue tax showed a significant increase of $2.03 million under projections, according to the report. Wage and salary taxes continued to fall short of projections—falling by $735,403. And income tax collection/personal income taxes collection fell by $2.08 million, while corporate income taxes also decreased by $1.34 million.
Overall collection of income taxes in the Commonwealth totaled $95.62 million, but was significantly short of projections by $6.92 million, the report said.
Excise taxes also fell by $2.4 million, adding to the overall shortfall in projections.
“Had these disasters not occurred and revenue been collected as anticipated,” Torres said, “the administration believes it would have not only met the projected revenue goal, but actually exceeded it.”
Total expenditures/obligations for the fiscal year exceeded total appropriations and allotments by $9.1 million.
Total personnel expenditures for the year reflected an over-expenditure in budget allotments by $9.29 million, while total expenditures and obligations under general “all others” category exceeded appropriations by $262,342, and utilities expenditure reflected a surplus in budget allotments by $448,408—resulting in a net over-expenditure/over-obligation of $9.1 million.
A total amounting $2.79 million was expended for emergency preparedness for nine storms that came through the Northern Marianas last fiscal year, of which $1.9 million is attributed to the declared disaster Typhoon Soudelor.
The report said this sum was partially expended in fiscal year 2015 and will be eligible for reimbursement in fiscal 2016 through approved project worksheets issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.