Supplemental budget $11Mil + — more than half for personnel

fili@samoanews.com

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s proposed fiscal year 2018 Supplemental Budget totals more than $11 million and includes some $6 million in personnel cost.

According to the governor, disapproval of the supplemental means affected agencies will be required to implement “reduction” in workforce.

Summary information on the Supplemental Budget, funded by the Administration’s five new revenue measures before the Fono, is included in the governor’s cover letter to Fono leaders that also included the Basic FY 2018 budget of $395.26 million.

The governor points out that the Basic Budget threshold was set at 90% of the approved FY 2017 budget — referring to local revenues. “It was immediately evident that many of the agencies will not be able to cover all of their operating costs with the established budget threshold,” he said, adding that the supplemental is 10% of the approved FY 2017 budget, referring to local revenues.

The FY 2018 supplemental proposal totals $11.34 million, which the governor says is needed to fund the government’s basic operations.

Of the total supplemental: there is $6.96 million for personnel services; $869,000 for materials and supplies; $917,500 for contractual services; $329,500 for travel; $1.97 million for “other operational critical needs;” and $282,500 for equipment.

Lolo points out that some ASG agencies could not fully cover the cost of its workforce, adding that the Education Department, LBJ Medical Center, and Treasury Department represent the three main ASG agencies “lacking sufficient funds to comprehensively fund the salaries of their respective employees.”

According to data in the governor’s cover letter, the Administration is proposing $2.21 million for ASDOE; $900,000 for the Treasury Department; and $2 million for LBJ as part of the ASG subsidy.

Under the proposed Basic FY 2018 Budget, ASG is allocating $4 million as LBJ subsidy, which is listed under the Special Programs budget category, overseen by the Governor’s Office.

Also requested under the Special Programs for the supplemental budget is $1 million for subsidy to the Board of Higher Education — the American Samoa Community College — whose subsidy under the Basic FY 2018 budget is $2 million.

The letter also shows that the governor is proposing $700,000 under the supplemental for the Legislature, which has a proposed basic FY 2018 budget of $6.91 million. If the supplemental is approved that means the Fono’s total proposed FY 2018 budget stands at $7.61 million.

Another entity with a large request, is Public Works Department seeking $727,000 under the supplemental budget.

According to the governor, the $6.99 million is needed to defray existing unfunded personnel costs. And if the proposed supplemental “is not approved, the affected agencies will be required to implement reduction in force initiatives,” he said.

“It should be pointed out that if the agencies are compelled to adopt the reduction in force option, $6.9 million will automatically be taken out of our economy which will trigger shrinkage in our revenue base and create a financially adverse wave that will further detract our economy and our revenue base,” the governor said.

In the Basic Budget proposal, said Lolo, the bulk of the allocated revenues are absorbed by personnel costs, leaving minimal to purchase supplies and materials necessary to support services delivered to the people.

He noted that other operational needs of most of the agencies are presented in the basic budget.

“Denial of the supplemental budget would mean that no materials, supplies, and equipment would be available to conduct services,” he continued.

It remains unclear when the supplemental budget will be introduced in both the Senate and House.

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