29 May 2009

CNMI's Governor says Legislature stymied his goal of economic recovery

10:26 am on 29 May 2009

The Northern Marianas Governor has partly blamed the Legislature for some of the challenges that he said had led to the "perfect financial storm" of the global economic downturn, a budget crisis, a power crisis, the rising minimum wage and federalization.

During Benigno Fitial's State of the Commonwealth Address he said it has stymied his goal of economic recovery when he came into office in 2006.

But the Governor says he isn't about to give up, calling for stability and continuity of leadership, six months before the gubernatorial elections.

In his address he said the budget was passed five months into Fiscal Year 2009 and was achieved through a legislative override.

He said Moody's Investor Service recently downgraded the CNMI's bond rating because of the untimely passage of the FY 2009 budget.

The 16th Legislature also overrode a measure that forced the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation to charge below cost at a time of record high oil prices, but lawmakers themselves later amended the policy.