By: L.N. Reklai
(Koror, Palau) The Supplemental Budget proposal submitted by President Remengesau in May of this year, requested for $3,424,000 additional funds to pay for recurring programs and activities, pay for some of the expenses incurred during the drought, including water bills for residences during the two-month drought period and other new items such as funds to assist Palauans who were affected by Supertyphoon Soudelor in Saipan last year.
The House version of the bill increased by $820,000 over the President’s version, bringing the total requested amount to $4,244,500. Senate version increased the amount to $4,924,500, an increase of $680,000 over House version and $1,500,500 over the President’s version.
House of Delegates adopted the Senate version with no changes and passed the bill to President Remengesau on June 24, 2016.
House version includes budgets for new projects for 9 State governments including increase of $100k to its own budget. Senate version includes funding for new projects for 6 states, $420k to Ministry of Health for medicine and supplies, increase of $200k to its budget, $100k of which is allocated to Palau Community of Guam Cultural Center, and $25k to reimburse Vice President’s legal fees in the case involving previous interim special prosecutor Simms and others.
“The draft supplemental budget carries some major policy amendments. These are not budget items and cannot be item vetoed. I either have to approve the bill, veto or refer back for further consideration. The bill also has some very good measures such as budget to pay off residential water bills for the months of April and May during the drought” stated President Remengesau on the Supplemental Budget bill before him. “We are now studying it before deciding on action to take,” he added.
President Remengesau identified increase in taxes and user fees and Non-compact Trust fund accounts residual earnings as sources of funds for the proposed budget he submitted in May. [/restrict]