Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2019 12am







    Monday, June 17, 2019-8:46:01P.M.






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Legislature reduces funding allocations

THE Senate and the House of Representatives have cut their allocations following Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ 4.7 percent reduction in allotments.

In separate memoranda, Senate President Victor B. Hocog and Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao informed the Office of Management and Budget that they intend to comply with the governor’s call to implement a 5 percent cut in their respective allocations.

In his memo, Hocog told Special Assistant for Management and Budget Vicky Villagomez that “in the spirit of cooperation, it is the intent of the Senate to comply with the governor’s message dated March 22, 2019.”

“What I intend to do is to reduce the level of funds for the remainder of FY 2019 by 5 percent,” he said.

In an interview, Attao said he also sent a similar memo to Villagomez, containing the same message.

“The cuts in the House and the Senate have to be equal. If it’s 5 percent here in the House, it must also be 5 percent in the Senate,” Attao said.

A spreadsheet from OMB indicates that funding for the 20 House members’ salaries have been reduced from $547,352 to $434,019 for the remaining part of the fiscal year starting April 1. This results in a monthly allotment of $72,337 for their salaries. Each House member’s monthly salary is now down from $4,561 to $3,616.

Funding for the nine senators’ salaries for the remaining part of the fiscal year was reduced from $234,122 to $183,122. Funding for their monthly salaries until the end of the fiscal year totals $30,520. So each senator’s monthly salary was cut from $4,335 to $3,391.

The House office allocation was reduced by $49,298 while the Senate’s was cut by $22,215.

Last month, the governor informed the Legislature’s presiding officers that the FY 2019 revenues were less than originally projected, resulting in a 4.7 percent or $12 million budget cut.

Payless payday

In an interview, House Minority Leader Edwin Propst said his office staffers and community workers experienced “payless payday” on Monday.

Each member of Senate and House receives a monthly office allocation of $7,500 but Propst said his office received only about $3,000.

“So my staff can’t get paid today. It’s payless payday for them because of insufficient funds. Finance basically took out a substantial amount from my office allocations,” Propst said.