VIDEO: CNMI House Rejects Senate Budget; Lawmakers Have Until Sept. 30 to Compromise

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Saipan – With a little over a month before the start of the new fiscal year, the House of Representatives Tuesday rejected the Senate version of a $123-million budget bill.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the House’s rejection of the Senate’s budget measure triggered the convening of a six-member conference committee—three from each chamber—to hash out their budget differences.

The House had problems with the Senate earmarking $6 million for the centralized government’s utility account, authorizing the governor to hire 75 extra employees instead of only 25, and a $200,000 cut in tourism funding in fiscal year 2014, among other things

If no new budget is passed and signed into law by Sept. 30, the government runs the risk of another shutdown starting on Oct. 1.

The administration of Gov. Eloy Inos, meanwhile, is hoping the conference committee will act swiftly to agree on and pass a budget.