Speaker: The sky isn’t falling with NGS shutdown
There will not be a shortfall in the Navajo Nation’s general fund budget next year, Speaker Seth Damon firmly reiterated to the Budget and Finance committee during its Tuesday meeting.
After a projection which factored in the Navajo Generating Station shutdown, which will mean a loss of at least $22 million compared to 2019 because of the decrease in coal sales, and with the one-time payment of $18.1 million coming from Salt River Project, and after set-asides of $54.7 million are taken out, the net total general fund revenue will be $158.3 million — actually about $6 million higher than the present fiscal year projection of $152.3 million.
“Like I’ve been saying, there is no shortfall for next year,” said Damon. “If you see the projection, we don’t have a problem. Some of our colleagues said that the heavens was going to fall and we are going to lay people off. That’s not true!”
The possibility of layoffs was used by Delegate Rickie Nez who sponsored the failed bill that supported Navajo Transitional Energy Company acquiring NGS. Supporters of his bill, such as Delegate Otto Tso, also used layoffs at town hall meetings and in debate with their colleagues.