Ways and Means defers action on 2 bills

THE House Committee on Ways and Means did not take action on two bills it reviewed during a meeting on Tuesday.

These are House Bills 20-100 and 20-142

H.B. 20-100, which was introduced by Speaker Ralph Demapan, proposes to establish a reserve fund to be used to meet the future needs of the commonwealth, while H.B. 20-142, introduced by Rep. Ivan Blanco, will exempt from the excise tax traditional canoes imported into CNMI when funded by a philanthropic organization for the primary purpose of improving the cultural and economic condition of the indigenous Chamorro and Refaluwasch people.

Ways and Means Chairman Angel Demapan, in an interview, said there are some concerns with the bills and members want to hear feedback from the Department of Finance.

He said H.B. 20-142 is a good bill. “It is supporting a good cause and we were able to receive a lot of comments from the canoe community. It’s good to be given this chance to learn about our history and culture through traditional navigation, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for our youth to learn something about our traditional practices.”

Regarding H.B. 20-100, Demapan said they want to see a cost-analysis of the impact of the 5 percent that will be taken from the general fund and reserved for future rainy days as proposed by the measure.

Rep. Joe Deleon Guerrero said he supports the bill, but it may affect the government’s ability to pay its obligations. What about in cases of emergency? he asked.

“So we would like to see some analysis of the possible fiscal impact of reserving 5 percent of total revenues,” Demapan said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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