31 Dec 2008

Northern Marianas' Government cut spending as global slump bites

4:18 pm on 31 December 2008

The Northern Marianas governor, Benigno Fitial, has announced a 5.5 percent budget cut for all agencies for the rest of the 2009 fiscal year.

The governor, faced with dwindling government revenues, says the cut will help the government to finish the fiscal year in the black.

The governor says the across-the-board reduction will go into effect from New Year's Day.

He has also urged the Legislature to enact laws to help reduce current spending and to generate additional revenues.

Governor Fitial says measures imposing austerity Fridays, non-paid holidays, and a reduced employer contribution rate to the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund would provide much needed relief.

The budget message follows the governor's veto of the Legislature-passed appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009.

He pointed to an 8.7 million dollar drop in the Department of Finance's revenue projection in rejecting the budget plan.