Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CNMI FY 2010 Budget

It seems that the Legislature has adopted a new method for the budgeting process--one that starts with a spending cap, so there is some basic agreement by all, and then moves to the final budgeting/parceling out the money.

The House finally introduced the budget bill, H.B. 16-275 this week for FY 2010 (beginning on October 1, 2009). Although this is a very late introduction, they've almost made up for the problem.

They have now passed it.

It pares down the budget from last year, but without following Fitial's plan for employee austerity Fridays.

It also provides for some payments to the NMI Retirement Fund, as required by the recent court ruling. Regardless of who is to blame for the mess, it's important that the mess be cleaned up, and this budget bill seems to begin that process.

The prompt passage by the House still gives the Senate a little time to review and vote on the budget, but not much. Let's hope the Senate acts quickly and responsibly.

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