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Special fund to address retirees, bond payments established

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A revolving fund account is about to be established once the House of Representatives accepts Senate revisions to a bill that establishes the account to settle the CNMI government obligation to pay minimum annual payments to retirees.

After a scuffle with Settlement Fund in 2015, the CNMI government and the Settlement Fund entered into an agreement that the Commonwealth government would make minimum annual payments to the Settlement Fund enough to enable it to pay at least 75 percent of retiree benefits.

Rep. Angel A. Demapan’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 20-10 establishes the Settlement Fund revolving fund account to specifically address the annual payments to the Settlement Fund.

According to the bill, a “specified amount” in business gross revenue tax would be deposited into the fund to “ensure and protect future payments to the CNMI retirees.”

Starting this fiscal year 2018 up to fiscal year 2024, pre-determined amounts would be deposited into the special account from the BGRT.

Under the bill, $45 million would be deposited into the account in fiscal year 2018, $44 million in fiscal year 2019; $43 million in fiscal year 2020; $42 million in fiscal year 2021; $41 million in fiscal year 2022; $40 million in fiscal year 2023; and $39 million in fiscal year 2024.

The Senate, prior to passing the bill, added a provision through the Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee to also establish a bond payment revolving fund account that annually sets aside $5.1 million for the 2007A bond and $3.3 million for the 2007B bond.

H.B. 20-10 SD1 now heads back to the House for action on the Senate revisions.

The bill passed with an 8-0 vote with Sen. Paul Mangloña (Ind-Rota) abstaining.

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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