Senators Slam Proposed Supplemental Budget

 Senators slam proposed supplemental budget

 Senator slam proposed supplemental budget

The five senators in the opposition block have slammed the proposed 2012 Supplemental Budget that President Toribiong submitted earlier to the OEK, information pills in a stinging 11 page letter sent  last week to the chairman of Ways and Means and Financial Matters, page Senator Mark Rudimch. Senators Tommy Remengesau Jr., unhealthy Camsek Chin, Hokkons Baules, Raynold Oilouch, and Surangel Whipps Jr.

In the April 19 letter, asserted that there is nothing in the 2012 FY budget legislation and its committee report that says OEK promised to enact a supplement budget as it only agreed to a prompt consideration, “ If a Supplemental Budget is needed”. They say that RPPL No. 8-40 only says “promise to consider” not “to enact”.

The letter went on to say, “ The president fails to present any evidence to support why the Olbiil Era Kelulau should assist him in covering up his illegal and unconstitutional expenses resulting from unauthorized executive branch expenditures for Fiscal Year 2012.” It also stated that president’s proclamation to the OEK failed to sufficiently appropriate funds for FY2011, was a surprise to them because he submitted a 2011 supplemental budget one month before the end of the fiscal year saying that the 2011 budget “will not comply with the law requiring that we have a balanced or surplus budget”.

The senators say that under some items in the supplemental budget, the OEK appropriated more than what the President requested as 2011 supplemental, but his expenditures went over the limit set by law. The OEK asserted that such an over expenditure of $2,400,000.00 in FY 2011budget is a felony of crime under 40PNC, section 406, unconstitutional and an impeachable offense. They say that the President must stop flip-flopping on his own budget.

The very concept of retroactively authorizing funds, which were spent in violation of the law, which has never been done in the history of Palau and that “we the the under-signed Senators will not be part of such blatant attempt  to cover up an illegal and  unconstitutional act of the President”.

The Senators proposed OEK to provide $2.4M to PPUC to make $2.4M that was written off from the debt of the government to PPUC and to protect the loan proceeds of $16M ADB by appropriating the remaining $6M to water and sewer corporation since $4M is being transferred to buy fiber-optic cable. The senators handed out a proposal to amend RPPL No. 8-1 and 8-15 to reduce the salaries of the president from $90,000 to $50,000 per year, vice president from $65,000 to $45,000, Minister from $50,000 to $30,000 and OEK members from $50,000 to $40,000. Such reduction should result in savings of $500,000 a year, which can be used as a start to reduce the Pension Plan Fund deficit and prevent it from bankcruptcy.

The senators also urged that COLA be permanent as  proposed by Sen. Baules by adding $50 bi-weekly to those making $15,000 and below per year instead of the proposed presidential COLA for only three months before the election, which is a short term fix designed to buy votes. They also call for implementing a minimum wage immediately starting with $3 then $3.25 after six months and $3.50 by the end of the year.