Kolonia, Pohnpei: March 18, 2024 – For the second time, the Pohnpei State Legislature has overridden Governor Joseph’s line-item vetoes on budget bills.

In a letter dated March 8, 2024, Governor Stevenson A. Joseph exercised his veto power over several line items identified in Bill 01-24 LD.1, LD2, amending S.L. No 10L-139-23 (the Comprehensive Budget Act for FY2024) and signed into law as S.L. No. 11L-03-24. In a letter dated March 15, 2024, Speaker Yamaguchi notified Governor Joseph that the 11th Pohnpei Legislature overrode the vetoed line items.

In his March 8, 2024 letter addressed to Speaker Yamaguchi, Governor Joseph underscored the importance of transparency and accountability in serving the people, asserting that fiscal priorities must be carefully considered even in the presence of available funds.

The first line item vetoed, amounting to $35,248.00 designated for travel for Early Childhood Education (ECE), was challenged due to competing priorities within ECE, particularly concerning facilities and instructional support. Similarly, a $10,000 allocation for travel to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) lacked adequate justification, prompting its veto.

Governor Joseph rejected a $250,000 supplemental request aimed at retaining Pohnpei Transportation Authority (PTA) employees, stating that there was insufficient information about the purpose of the allocation. Nonetheless, he affirmed his dedication to supporting PTA’s crucial work and promised to work closely with them to address their operational requirements for the rest of the fiscal year via a supplemental budget.

Furthermore, an $11,000 allocation for the North Pacific Regional Championship Tennis was vetoed lacking justification from the Pohnpei Sports Commission, emphasizing the necessity for accountability in allocating state funds for longstanding activities.

Lastly, Governor Joseph vetoed $20,000 earmarked for Satellite Internet Services for the Outer Islands of Pohnpei due to inadequate details and sustainability concerns. He highlighted ongoing efforts by the FSM Digitization Project, funded by the World Bank, which plans to connect all outer islands at no cost to state and municipal governments.

Despite Governor Joseph’s vetoes, Speaker Yamaguchi in an official communication on March 15, 2024, informed him of the 11th Pohnpei Legislature’s decision to override all vetoed line items on March 14, 2024.



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