Torres admin to release budget submission before May 1


The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres aims to submit its fiscal year 2017 budget to the Legislature before May 1, a month after the expected deadline of April 1, or no later than six months before the beginning of the fiscal year, per Commonwealth law.

Asked to explain the new deadline, the governor’s spokesperson Ivan Blanco pointed to the part in the law where “in the event of change in administration, the new hovernor shall make his or her first submission no later than five months before the beginning of the fiscal year.” Torres, along with Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, took the helms of government after the untimely passing of the late governor Eloy S. Inos last December.

At the same time, Torres met with the leadership of the Legislature yesterday morning to discuss the budget.

Sen. Justo Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero (R-Saipan) separately confirmed Torres’ aim to submit a budget before May 1.

Quitugua said “as soon as they are done identifying all the resources and putting all the department” submissions, “they will be sending [the budget] to us,” but there is “nothing concrete yet.”

Asked whether the pushback in the deadline was because of the new administration, Quitugua said, “No. That should not be a reason.”

“I think they are just putting the resources together…The administration can always, like in the past when I was in the House when the budget is going to be late, the governor will advise that it will be one week, two weeks late,” he added.

Guerrero said Torres indicated they are looking at giving all governmental agencies across the board “equated allocations.”

Guerrero said, for example, Torres would not take away money from agency to subsidize another.

“Everybody is going to be proportionate to what they spend in this” fiscal year,” Guerrero told Saipan Tribune. “You spend FY ’16 this much, that’s about what you will be getting, whatever additional assistance you might really need might be forthcoming” but “we haven’t seen it so it’s difficult to quantify how the budget was” formulated, he added.

Guerrero said another concern was with the Department of Public Safety given the new gun laws to be set in place after a federal court ruling struck down the ban on handguns in the CNMI.

“DPS will need to get adequate equipment because the gun law…is looking moving forward to being signed into law. The governor wanted to make sure frontline officers are fully protected. He’s looking at giving additional money to DPS,” Guerrero said.

“According to him, it looks brighter,” Guerrero said, when asked about an increase in revenue projections. “…I don’t know how bright it is, but hopefully in the coming years, we are going to see a better economic growth. It will be better for everyone.”

Torres earlier told Saipan Tribune that CNMI mayor’s offices would see an increase in their budgets for next fiscal year, suggesting at an overall growth in revenue projections.

The Saipan Mayor’s Office will see a $209,000 increase from a budget last year of $1.8 million, the Northern Island Mayor’s Office will see a proposed increase to $505,000 budget from a $340,000 budget, the Rota Mayor’s Office will see an increase to $6.7 million from $6.4 million, and from a current budget of $6.6 million, the Tinian Mayor’s Office will see a proposed budget of $6.8 million, according to Torres.

Saipan Tribune revealed last month that the Torres administration is optimistic and anticipate “double-digit forecasted revenue increases.”

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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