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INTRODUCTION OF CNMI OFFICIALS
Mr. MURTHA. If you will identify your colleagues here for the record.
Mr. TENORIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On my left is Mr. Eloy Inos. He is the Director of Finance for our government, and to my right, Mr. James Ripple, who is the Special Assistant for Planning and Budget Affairs.
Mr. MURTHA. Your entire statement will appear in the record. If you will summarize it for the Committee.
Mr. TENORIO. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear in this hearing this year.
As you said, we have already submitted our long statement for the record, and I will attempt to summarize here and highlight some of the issues.
First, we support the Administration's submission of the Fiscal Year 1989 budget for the Northern Marianas which was the amount from the multi-year financial assistance enacted into U.S. Public Law 99-396. This amount covered $15 million for operations of the government and $25.1 million for capital improvement. We supported the submission, as I indicated.
Also, I want to report, Mr. Chairman, that the seven year fiscal development and socioeconomic plan is being developed now by the government, and we expect to complete the project and submit it to Congress and the Department of the Interior by August. This particular plan outlines the detailed manner in which the funds being appropriated for the next seven years would be expended for capital development programs.
CNMI SHORELINE/WATER IMPROVEMENT NEEDS Mr. Chairman, we are here also to request the support of the Committee in the appropriation of the $14 million which was authorized by Public Law 99-662 under the Water Resource Conservation, Development and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 1986. This money is needed to deepen the entrance channel and the basin of the Saipan Harbor, a commercial port that acts as the main transshipment and shipping harbor for the commonwealth. The commonwealth government will be expending $12.5 million be ginning this year to make improvements on the shore-side facilities. We are asking the U.S. Government to provide us with the funds for the offshore improvements, which is dredging. That amount, as I said, was already authorized by Public Law 99-662.
Also, Mr. Chairman, we would like to ask the indulgence and support of the Committee to consider appropriating some funds for water improvement programs. Several years ago about $4 million was appropriated out of the $15 million authorized under the previous statute. The balance is about $10 million. We are requesting that a portion of those funds be made available to continue the ongoing projects that were started in prior years.
We have obligated all of the $4 million that was appropriated to us several years ago and mostly for detail design and engineering of major transmission and distribution systems on the Island of
Saipan. We have undertaken some construction projects. At this point we need funds to continue on the basic water transmission system and storage.
AMERICAN MEMORIAL PARK IN SAIPAN Also, Mr. Chairman, again this year we are asking for consideration by the Committee regarding the appropriation of $3 million for development of the American Memorial Park on Saipan. This park was intended during the status negotiations between the United States and the Northern Marianas to be developed as a living memorial to honor those that died during the war. Authorization for this park was made in Public Law 95-348 several years already. And every year we try to get some funds out so we can begin to implement the recommendations of a joint master plan that was developed between our government and the United States National Park Service. We recognized how constrained the budget is for the United States but, Mr. Chairman, if there is any way that some funds could be made available to initiate some of the projects we have planned, we would appreciate it.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 99-396
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I want to register our disagreement with the proposed amendment of Public Law 99-396 as requested by OTIA, and this has to do with the language in that law on the inclusion of all terms and conditions. I think that the Congress had made a determination that Public Law 99-396 covers only some of the conditions of the agreement and not the entire agreement.
That is our statement, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
[The statement of Pedro A. Tenorio, Benjamin T. Mangloria, and Pedro R. Guerrero follow:]
MR. CHAIRMAN AND HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMITTEE. FROM THE NORTHERN MARIANAS, WE BRING YOU GREETINGS AND A WARM "HAFA
AS ALWAYS, WE APPRECIATE THE INTEREST THAT THE CONGRESS
DEMONSTRATES IN THE WELFARE OF OUR COMMONWEALTH.
IT IS THROUGH
THIS INTEREST AND ASSISTANCE YOU HAVE GIVEN US THAT WE HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO DEVELOP OUR ISLANDS CLOSER TO ACHIEVING
WITH ME TODAY IS OUR FINANCE DIRECTOR, MR. ELOY INOS, AND OUR
SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR PLANNING AND BUDGET AFFAIRS, MR. JAMES
RIPPLE. THEY ARE JOINED BY THEIR ASSISTANTS MESSERS PEDRO P.
REYES AND JOAQUIN TEREGEYO.
ALSO WITH US TODAY ARE MR. ERIC
SMITH, OUR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND MR. PEDRO SASAMOTO,
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OUR COMMONWEALTH UTILITIES
CORPORATION. FROM OUR LEGISLATURE AND REPRESENTING THE SENATE IS THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT BENJAMIN T. MANGLONA AND THE
HONORABLE PEDRO R. GUERRERO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
TWO YEARS AGO, THE CONGRESS ENACTED AND THE PRESIDENT SIGNED
INTO LAW PUBLIC LAW 99-396.
THIS LAW PROVIDES, AMONG OTHERS,
FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN
MARIANA ISLANDS (CNMI) FOR THE SECOND SEVEN YEAR CYCLE OF
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE UNDER SECTION 702 OF PUBLIC LAW 99-241,
"THE COVENANT TO ESTABLISH THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN
MARIANA ISLANDS IN POLITICAL UNION WITH THE UNITED STATES".
SECTION 10 OF PUBLIC LAW 99-396 PLEDGED $228 MILLION OF DIRECT
GRANT ASSISTANCE TO THE COMMONWEALTH AT GUARANTEED ANNUAL
AMOUNTS FOR THE SEVEN FISCAL YEARS BEGINNING IN FY 1986.
PUBLIC LAW 99-396 MAKES REFERENCE TO CERTAIN PERFORMANCE
STANDARDS TO ACHIEVE EFFICIENCY IN THE DELIVERY OF GENERAL
WE ARE PLEASED TO INFORM THE COMMITTEE
THAT WE HAVE MET THESE STANDARDS AND WE PLAN TO CONTINUE THE
TREND THAT WE HAVE ESTABLISHED.
ONE OF THESE STANDARDS OF THE
LAW REQUIRES THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
(CNMI) TO REDUCE ITS DEPENDENCY UPON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR OPERATIONS.
HAVE REDUCED OUR DEPENDENCY FROM 66 PERCENT IN FISCAL YEAR 1978
TO 23 PERCENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1988, WHICH WILL BE FURTHER REDUCED TO 21 PERCENT DURING FISCAL YEAR 1989. THIS HAS BEEN
ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT ANY REDUCTION IN GOVERNMENT SERVICES, YET
WE CONTINUE TO PROVIDE A STABLE GOVERNMENT, AN EQUITABLE TAX
SYSTEM, AND AN ECONOMIC CLIMATE ATTRACTIVE TO PRIVATE SECTOR
INVESTMENTS COUPLED WITH LAW AND ORDER THAT ASSURES SAFETY TO
PERSONS AND PROPERTY.
THE CNMI HAS ESTABLISHED A POLICY TO MAINTAIN A LEVEL OF
GOVERNMENT CONSISTENT WITH THE NEED FOR SERVICES DEMANDED BY THE