Game Over

March 7, 2012

In the CNMI no one has to ask, "Will the last one out, turn off the lights?" because the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) will make sure that the lights will be out long before the last person leaves. The CUC has to bring in $6 million monthly to pay its bills including payroll and purchasing fuel for the power plant.  It cannot provide power without fuel and it cannot pay for fuel unless the customers pay their bills. It is not surprising that the decision was made to turn off electricity at the CNMI Public Schools (PSS) and Commonwealth Health Center (CHC), two government agencies that owe millions to the CUC.

Of course the CNMI government has not properly funded either the CHC or the PSS so how can they be expected to pay their utilities bills? The Marianas Variety reported:
PSS owes CUC over $4 million. The central government, however, owes PSS $9 million in unremitted appropriation.
As expected there is again not enough funds to pay all of the CHC workers and their housing allowances have not been paid for four month.

The central government is shifting money from account to account and it looks like the game has reached its end. There is no more money to shift; no more IOUs to be accepted.

In any other place where the government has fallen into such a deep crisis mode, the governor and other "leaders" would be speaking to the press and making appearances on the television and radio to disclose their plan to raise revenue and reverse the crisis. Not this government. This government has watched unfazed for years as workers have gone unpaid, hospital bills have gone unpaid, utility bills have gone unpaid, tax refunds and stimulus checks have been withheld, and the the retirement fund has been destroyed. And why not? Half of the adult population or more cannot even vote in the CNMI. They are disenfranchised and voiceless. The majority of the remaining adult population, the U.S. citizens –those who can vote and have a voice– appear to be just fine with re-electing the same failed "leaders" who have led them further and further to ruin.

So sadly, expect no demonstrative outrage, no mass protests, no united demonstrations. Do not even expect change or reform. Expect more lies, more excuses, more blame and more stupidity. Expect more suffering, more crime, more hunger, more pain.  If it is so painfully difficult to read about this from a distance, and believe me it is, then I cannot even imagine how sad, how very, very sad it must be to live in the CNMI right now.


Anonymous said...

Yes it's sad and it's also time to go.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the "credit and forget it" trend has about hit the end.
It also looks like the voting populace are still asleep.
All a bunch of sheep being herded by a few "lap dogs" led by a penguin with a silly grin.

Anonymous said...

its so shameful for all good american citizen,for cnmi politicians/d.c lawmakers its good time to make bucks.grab grab and step on chommoro/carolinian selfish/proudy genius people,,,,shame shame USA...where is your all investigator / fbi/human rights etccc money making dogggggssss? sleeping by 2nd god(bucksssss)...corrupted americanoooo...

Anonymous said...

See Covenant § 701, 48 U.S.C. § 1801 note (“The Government of the United States will assist the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands in its efforts to achieve a progressively higher standard of living for its people as part of the American economic community and to develop the economic resources needed to meet the financial responsibilities of local self-government.”).

How’s that working out, CNMI? The U.S. Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General closed its Guam office over a decade ago to save a few dollars (and thereby sharply cut back federal oversight and accountability).

Good job, USA! Maybe Kilili can bring back some needed perusal of the federal funds spent in the Marianas.

Wendy Doromal said...

7:09 The U.S. government and U.S. taxpayers are in no way responsible for continually giving the CNMI money that it ABUSES, MISSPENDS AND WASTES! The U.S. needs to conduct a thorough audit of every grant and every agency and department that received U.S. dollars. What is it about the CNMI leaders (and too many people) that they feel they do not have to contribute anything in the way of taxes whether local income, sales or property? This system of handouts does nothing to help economic dependence or self-dignity and respect.

Anonymous said...

This is just another reason for Non employed non residents to leave the CNMI. Since CUC has started inspecting every power and water connections on Saipan, all illegal connections will be stopped and estimated billing will be made. Unemployed nonresidents living of their Child's/children's Food Stamps and Wic, living in a shack back behind the bushes with illegal hookups are providing their children a Zero Quality of Life. I understand that PSS is considering a program that requires nonresident parents to provide proof of legal status in coordination with Social Services to ensure that there they residing in a Sanitary and Safe residence. Diet is another big issue as well as Medical Immunizations, and their cleanliness when arriving at school each day. Humanitarian Visa's are mostly applied for U.S. children's parents to allow them to stay and provide for their children. Unauthorized to work and unable to pay their bills, How can a Child possibly have any Quality of Life?

Wendy Doromal said...

8:24 I was told that the majority of food stamp recipients are locals. Is this true? Are you sure that the majority of people collecting WIC and food stamps are nonresidents. You know of aliens with illegal CUC connections? You have not reported this? Or are you a racist liar?

That PSS idea is ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Bring it on and watch the lawsuits fly.


Green Cards for All! said...

Wendy Doromal said...

What is it about the CNMI leaders (and too many people) that they feel they do not have to contribute anything in the way of taxes whether local income, sales or property?

Fact check. Of the three taxes you mention (income, sales, and property), many U.S. states lack one of the three, including your home state of Florida which is among the
nine sates with no individual income tax -- and a generous homestead exemption which allows millionaires to shelter their mansions from judgment creditors!

The CNMI, on the other hand has a progressive wage and salary tax (Ch. 2) [also a corresponding tax on interest, dividends, royalties, etc.] ranging from 2% for those earning over $2,000 per annum to 9% for those earning over $50,000.

The Business Gross Receipts Tax is tantamount to a sales tax, since businesses include it in their cost of doing business and thus pass it on to customers.

Property taxes are usually done by locality rather than a state or territory. Like many municipalities in Alaska, the CNMI has no property tax. This is based on the sound public policy underlying Article XII, not making the indigenous destitute in their own islands and forcing them to leave their ancestral homeland, particularly as the Marianas are still making the transition from a subsistence lifestyle to a monetary economy.

As for federal income taxes, the people of the CNMI who reside there don't get to vote for president. And their contribution would be minuscule. And most importantly, the CNMI has paid in advance and in full many times over!

The CNMI gave up its submerged lands to the US, with resources worth billions or trillions of dollars. (Actually, this was done surreptitiously by the U.S. under the guise of sovereignty, without mentioning it expressly in the Covenant. Howard Penney Willens has no malpractice insurance that would cover this loss, which was made manifest when the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari, but likely he advised our Covenant negotiators and they decided to take a chance in court because they thought the U.S. would never agree to let us keep it.)

The U.S. has severely fallen down on the job when it comes to establishing an infrastructure and financing the CNMI. The TTPI administration did almost nothing, and then when the CNMI became a Commonwealth, the U.S. essentially said, "good luck".

The U.S. didn't even compensate the land-owners of the primitive roads it built, leaving the CNMI government with tens of millions of dollars in payments due under the constitution. Likewise, when the federal administration left, there was NEVER 24-hour water, and woeful electricity.

It is so fashionable among CNMI-bashers to blame corruption and mismanagement for the CNMI's woes, and there are certainly elements of that as proven by the Villagomez conviction.

But the bottom line is that the U.S. failed in establishing an infrastructure before granting the CNMI self-government, and we are paying for that to this very day.

Wendy Doromal said...

Green Cards. This is NOT about the states or Florida. No state is in the financial state that the CNMI is. Florida is not shutting down hospitals etc. We have local sales taxes and property taxes. Does the CNMI? No. Is the CNMI near bankrupt? Yes! Raising money through taxes makes sense.

Please the residents don't pay federal taxes! Why should they vote for president? You are talking about a territory with less population than any small US city. How would that work?

No, the US did NOT fail the CNMI. The CNMI leaders failed the CNMI. Bet they would like to have that $11 million that they spent on Abramoff's fees. The CNMI has wasted, and misused funds in a ridiculous manner for decades. The CNMI has to accept responsibility. The US taxpayers should not be the ones to fund the CNMI. The people of the CNMI can also raise revenue. What kind of person just wants to have a handout? Raising revenue locally instead of wholly relying on the US taxpayers brings pride and dignity also.