DESPITE having grave concerns about the Legislature’s budget bill, Gov. Eddie Calvo nonetheless signed Bill 426-31 into law last Friday.
“I’m signing this bill into law but with some reservations of understanding that we must move forward with the operations of the government and whatever flaws that are contained,” Calvo stated.
In his transmittal letter to Speaker Judi Won Pat, the governor also pointed out that the measure he signed is not a balanced budget compared to the legislation he originally introduced.
Calvo also noted a provision requiring online electronic access to bank account information he believes would result in “a misinterpretation of the government’s cash position.”
“An example of this is when the decision to implement the Hay Study Pay Plan was made, the bank balance reflected at the time of the decision was $10 million. What was not considered was the fact that approximately $18 to $20 million in outstanding checks were not netted from the total,” the governor said.
“I don’t know how many times my fiscal team and I have to explain to the legislative majority the difference between cash and budget. If there continues to be confusion and misunderstanding, then I caution the Legislature to stop placing mandates on the administration that limit our ability to prudently manage the cash flow of this government. You are inadvertently causing the decimation of services to the people we serve with these onerous mandates, not to mention the fact that again, this legislative majority has pushed through an unbalanced budget,” he added.
Calvo signed off on the budget bill with the understanding that a majority of the senators will be able to fix the problems with the budget law, but not without letting them know of budgets from 2009 to 2011 which placed the GovGuam coffers in ruin.
“Those budgets account for most of the deficit of tax refunds, a deficit you refused to pay down in full when I offered the bond solution last year. It was not until this administration, with the support of the legislative minority and only a couple of majority members, demanded full fiscal responsibility that the deficit was reduced, tax refunds were paid, and courageous action was taken. In short, I admonish those responsible for the financial mess we are in to finally listen to those whose fiscal policies are actually working. Make the amendments. Pass my spending cuts bill,” Calvo stressed.
But Sen. Ben Pangelinan, chairman of the appropriations committee, remains optimistic the budget law for Fiscal Year 2013 will reduce government of Guam expenditures.
“I am confident in the work of the Office of Finance and Budget and that of the committee in passing a budget that does not approve expenditures which exceeds the adopted revenues for FY2013,” stated Pangelinan, adding his staff would be more than willing to share their analysis with the governor’s fiscal team.
Pangelinan also wants to move forward and work with the government to reduce government expenses that are more than $14 million in order to address the timely payment of income tax refund payments.
“I realize it is not as easy as just borrowing money, and we no longer have the luxury or the capacity to borrow our way out of our financial troubles. We now have to work our way out,” Pangelinan said.