House No on CD1


Island Times, March 2, 2012 edition

Del. Secilil Eldebechel Wednesday expressed that the Senate’s killing of the House bill on Fiscal Year 2012 budget will not convince him to reconsider the CD1, which he claimed to be “dead.”

The CD1 or the first conference committee draft on the budget bill contains what is said to be compromised by the conferees from the Senate and the House. A conference committee was established to resolve disagreements of both houses over the budget bill that was first introduced in Senate. The CD1 passed in the Senate but failed to pass in the House.

Eldebechel, who chairs the House committee on ways and means and financial matters, believes that the Senate’s killing of the House bill on budget was a form of revenge.

“I’m surprised they displayed such an unprofessional act that I would consider as an irresponsible act of perhaps a revenge for their dead CD1. To me their action did not even convince me and the other House members to consider the dead CD1 that we all know has serious problems that were basically addressed in the House bill,” Eldebechel said.

Eldebechel said it is too bad that the Senate is concern more about the time required to work on the House bill when they already know what they want to incorporate in the budget.

“They could have amended the bill anyway they want and that will trigger conference committee to iron out our differences. Obviously, the Senate ways and means committee is fixed with the idea of forcing to revive their CD1, so that $3 million SOE (State of Emergency) appropriation will stay intact and eventually force the use of green fee revenues to fund the general operations,” the delegate said.

On the argument earlier by Senate WMFM chairman, Sen Mark Rudimch, that the House inflated local revenue to an unprecedented level, Eldebechel said the House projection was based on Vice President and Finance Min. Kerai Mariur’s presentation at the conference committee back in December.

Eldebechel said Mariur stated that they are working on the revised Funds Availability Analysis in which local revenues will likely reach at least $40 million.

“This is on record of the conference committee and I would ask them (Senate committee) to allow the playing of that tape for them and the public to understand what was mentioned during that meeting,” Eldebechel said.

The delegate said he would not be surprised if the next action of the Senate is to urge the president to impound state block grants as well the House budget to put more pressure for the latter to consider CD1.

“They can use $3 million appropriation under RPPL 8-34 and RPPL 8-35 for SOE to justify that impounding of funds is necessary because the level of $38 million local revenue in FY2011 is now 3 million less to fund the FY2012 operation under continuing budget authority. They are trying very hard to justify bringing down that local revenue that’s providing source of funding for FY2012 operations in order to fulfill their game plan. If this is going to be the case then, I would think that is an obvious case of dirty politics that the Palauan public just doesn’t deserve,” Eldebechel said.

Eldebechel said that after the Senate deliberately killed the House bill on budget on first reading, he will wait for the leadership of both houses to tell them what’s next.

“After all, I see no major problem with continuing budget authority for the rest of the FY2012 provided that RPPL 8-34, and as amended by RPPL 8-35, is amended to reflect the actual amount of $1.2 million spent on SOE,” said Eldebechel, who introduced yesterday a bill on this regard, together with Vice Speaker Alexander Merep.

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