Retirees’ 25% supplemental pension prioritized by Palacios

Arnold Palacios ordered the CNMI Department of Finance to deposit funds from a recent appropriation directly to the Northern Mariana Islands Settlement Fund so that retirees are assured of their payment of the 25 percent pension supplemental through the end of this fiscal year.

Last month, legislation authored by Blas Jonathan Attao in the CNMI House appropriated $5.2 million from dividends paid to the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority on its shares in the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation to the governor for payment of the 25 percent supplemental. The supplemental was scheduled to be discontinued effective April 15 due to the original budget’s failure to fund the local government’s full annual share of the pension for government retirees. Mr. Attao identified the cash source and quarterbacked the funding bill through both the House and the Senate in time for then-acting Governor David Apatang to sign it into law April 11, staving off payless supplementals.

Arnold Palacios

“The administration has been unwavering in its commitment to continue the 25% payments to the retirees despite the fiscal challenges that we face as a Commonwealth,” Mr. Palacios said. “Lt. Governor Apatang and I thank the members of the legislature for passing legislation that ensures the payments of the 25% continue.”

The appropriation prioritized the funding of the supplemental over all the other funding needs of the CNMI government, which is in fiscal crisis. That crisis has led to, among other fiscal restraint policies, the so-called Austerity Mondays, which essentially is the closure of most government services every other Monday in order to control payroll costs in the government.

Relatedly, the government contends that IPI, which holds the exclusive casino license in Saipan, owes the government more than $70 million in taxes and fees. Those accounts receivable would be more than enough to restore the full function of the government, stave off future anxieties about Settlement Fund payments, and nearly eliminate the deficit.

As the government struggles with cash flow and balances operational resource needs with vendor payables, Mr. Palacios ordered DOF to immediately remit the appropriated amount to the NMISF so that the funds would not be commingled with the rest of the demands on the Commonwealth treasury.

“Our retirees are some of the most vulnerable in our Commonwealth, and to many of them, the pension payment represents a lifeline, providing essential support for daily expenses, healthcare needs, and maintaining a decent and dignified standard of living,” Mr. Palacios said.

“Although we have reached a solution for now, the challenge to sustain the payments past the end of the fiscal year continues,” the governor said. “Lt. Governor Apatang and I will continue to work with the legislature to help safeguard our retirees’ benefits and give them the peace of mind and financial security they deserve,” he added.


  • They call me Joe

      05/06/2024 at 1:36 AM

    It’s really humorous reading the latest comments in the local “rag sheet” media criticizing the Governor and Lt. Governor (and don’t even get me started on the “Ambrose” and his past RICO nonsense about Ralphie – which by the way, I’m still waiting on that prediction?) Nonetheless, the CNMI reminds me of that James Brown quote – “I don’t know Karate, but I know crazy:” I would like to ask all those local media ragsheet commenters (Mabel calls you drunks) who are now disparging Palacious and Apatang, where were you when I was posting and warning (under a Joe moniker) – same boss as the old boss comments when all of you were drinking that past election year Kool-Aid? If I remember correctly, I took heat and downvotes when I pointed out that Apatang was the same guy who took trips (junkets in my opinion) to Japan with Mr. MVA (aka; size 13 shitkicker boots) and “Henry” all apparently enjoying it up on the taxpayer dime (again, in my opinion) under the guise of “Sister City” nonsense, and also (if I’m not mistaken) Apatang claimed the trip would help them learn about growing “sweet potatoes” in the CNMI? Yeah right. How’s those sweet potatoes coming along? Or for that matter, (take note Kilili) – how are those pineapple fields coming along from those past federal agricultural grants? Or for that matter, all that other federal largesse that was appropriated to the CNMI for job and economic development? (interesting some of the pretenses that were made to get that money?) I have a long memory (I’m patient, just wait and see). And to CNMI Lawyer – all your downvotes on my comments in the Variety? (rolling my eyes). Up yours.

    By the way, I remember getting pushback in my past Variety comments because Dave Apatang was a veteran? So what? I’m a veteran too (Vietnam Era), and the price of pork is going up in Jerusalem, but what does that have to do with anything? By the way, I predicted (correctly I might add) that all that papalatong during the pandemic about diversifying the CNMI economy would disappear after things returned to normal. Back to all one eggs in one basket are we? Tourism? Sheesh, believe it or not that’s a trend that is slowly dying out (just give it a little more time or maybe ask the Hyatt for their opinion?)

    Laughable how the CNMI is much like the “caste” system found in India (another craphole full of scammers). Those at the top of the CNMI “caste” system” look down at the “untouchables” (the lower caste of workers and welfare collectors) and keep’s them in abject poverty by controlling and personally benefitting from federal government handouts and other “shakedown schemes” by diverting it to their own pockets or familia (shout out to the Variety commenter Elkapitan for shining a light on some of it?). This pension fund fiasco is (in my opinion) just another example of how far the “caste” will go to keep the illusion of power going. The Governor knows full well that money doesn’t grow on trees. In other words, stand by for what follows after “Arnie” is done promoting this “Slopaganda” (CNMI version of propaganda) in his latest kabuki theater production of “positive news” because in reality, maybe there is none? Borrow from Peter to pay Paul much? (slight of hand much?)

    Maybe the MVA should promote the CNMI as the ostrich island? (heads buried in sand). But don’t worry – Corina, the CNMI’s Native American Gaming expert (aka; “Dance’s with Airports) is expecting a big investment (any day now) from her past trips (junkets in my opinion) to both the Philippines (with the Magnificient Seven) and also with her follow up trip to San Diego immediately afterwards (tell us what else you did when in California if anything, by coincidence, – as I’m just curious?) Did you visit any sweet potato fields by any chance like David did in Japan?

    Go ahead CNMI. Keep electing these fools and falling for their bullshit (LOL). As George Carlin once said “It’s a big club, and you aint in it”. Or should I say – it’s one big “caste system” and you are at the bottom of it”? Ever notice how after election time, even the political losers still get appointed to positions at the current administrations pig trough? Want me to name them or do you know who they are? Fool me once, shame on you……fool me twice shame on me?

    P.S. – It will be interesting to hear what I know about certain CNMI individuals who once resided in Hawaii before this upcoming election cycle? I have a good memory (I don’t think that could be disputed). Truth bomb incoming? Are you hearing me, or are you comfortably numb and still living in ostrich island mode?

    Whatever. Jokes on the CNMI as it spirals down into the abyss and all your bullshit “press releases” and “feel good “slopaganda” isn’t going to save you. Dumb asses.

    • Thank you for telling it like it is and I urge you to keep it coming in hope that it will slow them down or do right for everyone. Arnold had the opportunity to say that the government is broke and cannot afford to pay the 25 percent since it is the truth.

  • CNMI Lawyer

      05/09/2024 at 4:15 PM

    They call me Joe:

    “And to CNMI Lawyer – all your downvotes on my comments in the Variety? (rolling my eyes). Up yours.”

    Most of those comments were severely lacking in civility, courtesy, and kindness. Being able to disagree without being disagreeable is a valuable skill. Viva Las Vegas!

    • 𝘔𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴.

      And yet the Variety allowed them? Sounds like the CNMI Lawyer has an issue with anyone who doesn’t ascribe to some type of egotistical judgement bar?

      What’s even funnier is the double entendre that was used on the “UP YOURS” (related to downvoting a comment) but it obviously went right over someones head.

      Maybe CNMI Lawyer should stick with the Variety where it appears they try to control comments. It seems Kandit allows free speech and doesn’t play almighty censor God against CNMI feather rufflers.

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