Budget call, CIP and grant requests covered in Gov’s press conference

An important issue for the Lolo administration is the preparation and submission of the new fiscal year 2014 budget, which begins Oct. 1, 2013.


In past years, the budget call letter usually went out in late May or early June from the ASG Office of Budget and Planning advising ASG entities of the budget ceiling and the reason for it.


The call would also reveal any new funding sources as well as any future financial constraints faced by the current administration.


For the Lolo Administration they have a difficult task at this point with the federal sequestration in place and financial constraints for local revenue.


During the news conference this week, the governor was asked if the administration has set the budget ceiling for each department for FY 2014 and he responded, “not yet” and noted that “we’re trying to gather more information so that we can at least understand the trend” of budget spending.


Regarding a sequestration update, Lolo says ASG is affected and departments are “solving their own issues regarding the sequestration and they have taken measures to control the reduction they were given.”


However, he says the sequestration does not affect other federal grants for ASG.


On another budget matter, Lolo was asked if he still plans to submit to the Fono a preliminary budget for the fiscal year 2015, which is a promise he made to lawmakers during an address in January, that he will send to the Fono the preliminary budget proposal, which was a practice discontinued more than 10 years ago.


Lolo said he does plan to do so, adding that this is very important for proposed projects to be funded with federal Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) money. He went on to say that there is a change in the budget process in the U.S. Congress where “we’re not involved” in providing testimony on federal budget proposals.


“But what we still would like to do is submit not only CIP, but new grant (requests) to the Fono so lawmakers would know what’s in those budget figures,” he said. “Just before we send CIP and new grants to Washington, I want to make sure the Fono is aware of what’s going on.”


In Monday’s edition, in separate stories, are the rest of the issues raised by the news media at the Governor’s press conference last week.


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