Senators debate — again — over funding for Fiscal Year 2019

July 30, 2018

Hagåtña — Senators have five weeks left to pass a budget that will fund government services and provide dedicated funding for the Guam Memorial Hospital and Department of Education.

Fiscal Year 2019 begins October 1. But senators are required to pass a budget bill by August 31. At this stage, however, it’s unclear if they have any solution for the General Fund shortfall caused by the federal tax cuts. During the first day of session today, Senators debated increases to property tax.

On July 17, 11 Senators rolled back a law that provided revenue source needed to to address the $145 million shortfall caused by federal tax cuts, and stripped the Guam Memorial Hospital and Department of Education of $40 million in dedicated funding source.

The 11 senators who voted to strip away a funding solution are: Sens. Tom Ada, Frank Aguon, Fernando Estevez, Regine Lee, Telena Nelson, Jim Espaldon, Dennis Rodriguez, Joe San Agustin, Mike San Nicolas, Mary Torres, and Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje. Their decisions will derail the economy and leave the next Governor and Legislature presiding over the ashes.

Various agencies from the Executive Branch, as well as the Chief Justice of the Judicial Branch, have said that the budget options without a solution to the funding gap jeopardizes services that the government provides. The livelihoods of government employees will be threatened; and the island’s chief economist has testified that a reduction in salaries resulting from furloughs would then impact the island’s economy.

But you don’t have to take our word for it:

“Drastic cuts in Bill 237-34 will effectively eviscerate years of progress, to the utter detriment of the people to whom we are all accountable.”
– Katherine Maraman, Chief Justice of Judiciary of Guam

One of the Legislature’s two jobs is passing a budget. Contact the Senators today and tell them that the Legislature needs to pass a responsible budget.
Speaker BJ Cruz: 477-2520/1;
Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje: 472-3586;
Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee: 472-3455;
Sen. Thomas Ada: 473-3301/02;
Sen. Joe S. San Agustin: 989-5445;
Sen. Telena Cruz Nelson: 989-4678;
Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas: 472-6453;
Sen. Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.: 649-8638/0511;
Sen. Frank B. Aguon: 475-4861/2;
Sen. James Espaldon: 475-4546;
Sen. Tommy Morrison: 478-8669;
Sen. Mary Torres: 475-6279;
Sen. Louise B. Muna: 969-9852/9853;
Sen. Wil Castro: 969-1225/6;
Sen. Fernando B. Esteves: 969-3376;

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