Cash ready for refunds IF Senators pass Bill No. 187
About 6,200 people who filed their tax refunds by April 8, will get their tax refund this week if the Legislature goes into session to pass Bill No. 187. This is the bill by Republican senators that authorizes the Governor to use $9 million in Section 30 money to pay tax refunds. The Governor will release another $6 million in the income tax reserve for a total $15 million in payments. All of this is cash in the bank.
The remaining balance
If senators allow the Governor to make this payment at the end of the week, the government will be far ahead of schedule to pay all remaining Tax Year 2012 in accordance with the injunction. As of September 9, $27 million remains to be paid for all Status A refunds filed this year. This includes prior year refunds that were filed only recently.
Purpose of GOP bill is to pay refunds even faster
What Republican senators want to do is give the Governor the authority to pay refunds even faster than the schedule the administration is on. That’s the purpose of Bill No. 187. It gives the Governor the green light to use Section 30 cash — which is already in the bank — to pay more refunds. Whatever is collected into the income tax reserve fund after using the Section 30 cash will pay the balance of refunds faster, then will accumulate for next year’s refunds.
Some Democrat senators opposing payment of refunds
Unfortunately, the effort to pay tax refunds again is meeting opposition from some Democrat senators. They are arguing that they “appropriated” enough money in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for tax refunds.
1. The Provision for Tax Refunds in the FY2014 budget is not an appropriation, nor is it a guarantee of payment. Actual cash and political will guarantees the payment of tax refunds.
2. The Provision in the FY2014 budget is for Tax Year 2013. The Republican senators are trying to speed up the payment of this year’s Tax Year 2012 and prior refunds. The Democrats are comparing apples to oranges.
Clarification to false claims made in newspaper
We also ask the media to clarify false statements made in the editorial of the Marianas Variety today. The claim in the Variety was that Republican senators knew about additional Section 30 funding in August. The editorial reads, “It seems they were tipped off by the Front Office, which had been notified by the U.S. Treasury sometime in late August.” Sen. Rory Respicio, in opposing the bill to pay tax refunds — again, also made this claim. That’s not true at all. We attached the email train showing the Governor’s Office was officially notified of the additional funds on September 11 at 6:54 a.m. by the Department of the Interior. The Governor’s Office received unofficial word of the additional funds on September 4. There has not been any other previous information or correspondence on this matter prior to September 4. A separate email trail between the Bureau of Budget and Management research analyst tracking Section 30 monies and his counterpart at the Department of the Interior also contains an apology from the DOI employee for the delay in notifying Guam between the date of the letter and the September 4 email. The funds were deposited the morning of September 12 to the account at the Bank of Guam.
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