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Governor signs FY 2021 budget law with line item vetoes

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres signed the fiscal year 2021 budget bill into law at 4:15 a.m. Thursday to avert a partial government shutdown. But he also vetoed several line items. The new budget appropriates $101 million which includes $4.5 million for the Department of Public Lands.

At 4:48 a.m. Thursday, the administration issued the following statement:

"The Legislature officially transmitted the budget bill to the Office of the Governor at 2:08 a.m. The Senate passed the budget bill at about 1 a.m., however, the House of Representatives was not able to complete its deliberations until 2:05 a.m.

"Upon receiving the conference committee report, Governor Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Attorney General Edward Manibusan, Deputy Attorney General Lillian A. Tenorio, Special Assistant for Management and Budget Virginia Villagomez, Technical Financial Analysts Jazmin L. Camacho and Nadia DLG Benjamin, Governor’s Legal Counsel Gilbert J. Birnbrich, Senior Policy Advisor Robert Hunter, Press Secretary Kevin Bautista, and Policy Analyst Janina Maratita began review of the bill.

" 'Lt. Governor Palacios and I were encouraged when we received news that the conference committee from both houses had adopted their report. Our Lt. Governor, Attorney General Manibusan, Deputy Attorney General Tenorio, OMB Special Assistant Villagomez, our senior staff, and I remained at the ready overnight awaiting the votes by both houses on the FY 2021 budget. We committed through the early morning to ensuring a budget was enacted before the work day to ensure a shutdown was averted,' said Governor Torres.

"The administration’s FY 2021 budget proposal, submitted to the legislature in April, led to the creation of a conference committee to mitigate differences between the House and Senate. The committee completed its work and adopted their report late Wednesday night.

"Governor Torres and Lt. Governor Palacios thanked the Legislature for their efforts to pass the budget, despite the eleventh-hour deliberations and passage.

" 'As leaders, we are committing to ensure the needs of the public are met despite the global struggles. There will be some needs unmet by the budget reduction, but the hard work of providing essential services will continue. We must take leadership in not just surviving with less but putting in the hard work in creating more,' said Lt. Governor Palacios.

" 'In the coming year, our administration is committed to revitalization. Revitalization of our economy through strengthening the government’s tools toward economic diversification and resilience. Revitalization of our infrastructure to harden against disasters. Revitalization of our community through fostering ownership for the islands we call home. For now, we will keep public services running and allow our government employees to work as we navigate through the greatest challenges of our generation so that we can create an even stronger Marianas,” said Governor Torres.

"The FY 2021 budget appropriation of $101,032,217 assigns revenues based on projections for the operations of the government from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021."

More details to follow.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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