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Prefecture slashes budget; then juggles funds to make ends meet

Date Posted: 2008-02-07

Okinawa Prefecture is in for an austere year, as officials dumped ¥6 billion from the 2008 budget and is still billions short of requirements.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has vowed to implement reforms to curb unemployment, increase industrial work and improve medical care. Those will all require money, and the Prefecture intends to make some creative budget moves to get around the ¥38.7 billion shortage. Civil servant and worker salaries have already been cut, and the Prefecture will draw down the basic fund for financial adjustment by ¥14.7 billion.

Worker retirement allowances and administrative reform promotion money has been cut, and the Prefecture says it will defer payment of past debts. The Prefecture will increase social benefits, while making loans to hospitals that are in dire financial straits. Medical welfare requirements account for half the ¥1.8 billion medical budget.

The Prefecture says it will continue promoting tourism, which will cost a lot of money, while reforming programs designed to reduce unemployment. The governor calls this year’s budget “so tight” but says the Prefecture will get through the tough times.

Revenues are forecast to increase on the personal individual level, but says business taxes will drop 2.7%, about ¥2.8 billion. Subsidies from the central government are projected to increase one-half percent, ¥800 million, and regional district paybacks will increase ¥3.3 billion, about 1.7%.

Other expenses expected to decline include a reduction in payments to retired personnel, and the worker salary cuts are pegged at 4.7% down. At the same time, benefits increased 5.4%, raising medical bills for the elderly, and requiring the loans to hospitals.

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