Today’s the Deadline for Departments to Submit Budget Requests

Today is the deadline for directors to submit their budget requests for Fiscal Year 2018.

The June 5 budget call from Director of Program Planning and Budget, Catherine Saelua sets the ceiling of budget requests at 90% of department’s FY2017 approved budgets.

The budget call starts off: “Despite our best efforts to minimize adverse impacts of the Samoa Tuna Processing closure and other external factors beyond our control on our economy, major challenges will persist, exacerbated by  proposed reductions  to our Department of Interior Grant in Aid and other non defense federal grants.

“Moreover retractions in our economy will directly impact our local revenue base and further undermine our attempts to address the growing needs of our people.”

Mention is made of the Revenue Task Force that the governor established to identify revenue measures.

The governor said at last month’s cabinet meeting that the Task Force, chaired by the Attorney General, is to gather input from the Chamber of Commerce before the final package is submitted to the Fono.

The Budget Director states that for many years local needs have grown while our revenue base has been eroding.

She writes, “In an effort to stabilize and improve our current financial position, given that approximately 61% of our local budget is being absorbed by personnel costs, the governor acted swiftly and decisively to implement the 10 hour furlough per pay period for all employees with the exception of grant funded workers, teachers, doctors, nurses and contract employees.”

Saelua says while there’s great sensitivity of the burden to ASG employees from this move, inaction would only create more serious financial consequences later

And she says the reduction in hours ensures that local funded employees will continue to receive 87.5% of their normal income,

Governor Lolo has told KHJ News that a review of the impact of the reduction in hours will be carried out at the end of this month .

He is inclined to take a bigger cut from those at the high end of the income ladder and exempt or reduce the paycut for those earning $20,000 and below.

Departments funded with local monies are given a ceiling of 90% of their FY2017 approved budgets for their budget requests in FY2018,

If they require additional money they need to submit their requests in a supplemental but their additional requests must not exceed their FY2017 budget totals.

For federally funded departments,  Saelua said given that some federal programs will be affected by proposed cuts by the new administration, their budget proposals must be aligned with their most recent approved federal grant award.

The Budget Director instructed departments and agencies that operate as Enterprise Funds their proposed expenses must be tied to actual revenue collections.

After their budget requests are submitted, the Budget Office will schedule meetings with departments and agencies before the final budget bill is submitted to the Fono for review in the nest Fono session which begins the second Monday of July.



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