01 Mar 2018
- By Junhan B. Todiño – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
A TAXPAYER from Koblerville said “low-income people are struggling to buy food” while CNMI officials are giving themselves a pay increase.
“Here they are in the CNMI having a ball to increase their salary, while other islands like Guam are looking for ways to meet their budget shortfall due to the federal tax reform,” Jack Muna said.
The House of Representatives recently passed House Bills 20-35 and 20-36 which will increase the salaries of executive branch officials and re-establish a special annuity for the governor and lt. governor. Lawmakers earlier passed a measure to increase the salaries of elected officials, but its legality was challenged by the Attorney General’s Office.
Muna said there are only a few elected officials who remain committed to their constituents. “The majority have turned their faces around and are serving their best interest and not the people.”
He said lawmakers do not need a salary increase because they also have a budget for “extra expenses,” including travel, transportation and hotel accommodations.
“It’s more than they should deserve,” he said, adding that only a few lawmakers are doing their job for the people while the majority are “working to benefit their self-interest.”
“They have not done well to satisfy the people of the CNMI. Instead, they have enriched themselves and created a bad image for our beautiful islands and have neglected our people over and over again,” Muna said.
He said in this election year, every legislator should present a “report card” to the people they serve. “We expect them to do their job and represent our people and do good things — and not become do-nothing legislators who just go with the flow.”
Muna said a lawmaker from the minority bloc, Rep. Edwin Propst, has been serving the community well, and has proposed the imposition of an additional tax on the Saipan casino to fund the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
“But the Republican-controlled Legislature grabbed that proposal by the neck and strangled it to death,” Muna said.
He said anyone can be a public servant but those who seek an elective position must be a responsible person who is honest and transparent and who wants to serve the public.
“You as a public servant should be like a pit bull trying to protect its master. Protect the interest of the people and not special interests. This is where most lawmakers fall into a trap…. You don’t need a degree to be a public servant, but it sure helps. You must also have common sense, and must be responsible for what you do and are able to fight for what is right for the people of the CNMI.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102600-taxpayer-no-to-pay-hike-for-government-officials