CNMI Report – Commonwealth House Fails to Pass 2012 Budget Bill

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Saipan – The CNMI House of Representatives yesterday failed to pass the newly substituted $102-million budget bill with only a month to go before the start of fiscal year 2012.

The Saipan Tribune reported that the proposed 2012 budget drew heated debate among House members but three of four floor amendments eventually were adopted.

The substitute HB 17-215 gives a budget of $4 million to the Judiciary, over $4.5 million to the Legislature, and some $29.4 million to the Executive Branch.

Rota’s budget is at over $4.4 million, while Tinian’s is over $4.3 million. Saipan and the Northern Islands are proposed to have a budget of over $1.2 million.

The Senate is waiting for the House to pass the budget bill with Senate President Paul Manglona saying his colleagues want to prevent another partial government shutdown.

The House passed the 2011 budget bill came earlier last year. However, because the House and Senate became deadlocked, the government partially shut down.

It resulted in over 1,000 government employees not reporting for work for days until both chambers finally passed a budget that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial signed into law.