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Casino license fee collections ‘over appropriated,’ says Finance

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THE casino license fees that the CNMI government collected form Imperial Pacific International over the years had been over appropriated, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said.

He  provided a status report on the casino license fee collections for Saipan, Tinian and Rota to Senate President Victor B. Hocog.

Public Law 18-56 requires IPI to pay the CNMI government a $15 million annual fee for an exclusive casino license.

According to the status report, IPI paid a total of $30 million in license fee for Year 1 and Year 5 on July 11, 2014; $15 million for Year 2 on May 14, 2015; $15 million for Year 3 on Aug. 12, 2016; $2 million partial payment for Year 4 on Aug. 29, 2017; the $13 million balance on Sept. 1, 2017;  $5 million partial payment for Year 6 on Aug. 16, 2019; and the $10 million balance plus $502,570 inflation adjustment on Aug. 29, 2019.

From Year 1 through Year 5, Rota and Tinian received $2 million each while the rest of the collection was appropriated for Saipan and the payment of 25% of the retirees’ pension.

For  Year 6, $2 million was allocated for Rota; $2 million for Tinian; and $11 million for Saipan, including $1.5 million for the Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance program.

Atalig said, “Negative balances existed in all three districts beginning Year 1 to Year 6.”

“Although we have witnessed some positive balance on these accounts,” he added, “these amounts remain insufficient to offset the over appropriation and allocation of the casino annual license fee, leaving Saipan, Tinian and Rota accounts on a deficit.”

Atalig wrote the letter in response to Hocog’s inquiry as to the availability of enough casino funds balance to provide for interisland medical referral subsistence allowance for Rota patients as proposed in House Bill 21-116.

According to Atalig, “Upon further review of all revenue sources, we regret to inform you that there are no remaining available funds to provide for the $290,000 allocation proposed under H.B. 21-116.”

“We hope that the information presented regarding allocation and appropriation for the casino annual license fee by the first, second and third senatorial districts for Years 1 through 6 allowed for some clarification of transactions that lead to the current deficit balances of all three districts,” Atalig added.

 

 

 

 

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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