January 23, 2018
The Governor’s legal team has filed a lawsuit to compel the Legislature to transmit Bill 1(1-S) so we can pay tax refunds quicker.
Included in the documents filed at the Supreme Court are letters from Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee, basically saying “No” to the administration’s requests for Bill 1(1-S). The bill would use the tax and revenue anticipation note to pay tax refunds to residents within weeks, if not days, of tax returns being filed.
In one letter to the Governor, Sen. Lee states that they are “evaluating the legal implications” of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Everyday, the Governor’s office receives phone calls from people who need their refunds to pay for real life issues – off-island medical trips, family emergencies, mortgages, and school uniforms for their kids. If anything, while Sen. Lee continues legal arguments against paying tax refunds quicker, people are evaluating which need they pay for first, because their elected officials are still taking months to pay out tax refunds.
Is the government paying tax refunds faster today than it was 10 years ago?
Absolutely. In fact, this is the first administration to pay the tax refunds it owes to people within months of them filing. And we’ve been doing it for years.
“Paying within months isn’t good enough. It’s not good enough for the people we serve – for the moms and dads who are struggling and are essentially asking us to give them their money sooner,” Governor Calvo stated. “It’s why we proffered solutions in 2011 to saving tax refunds for the next year. But there were certain senators who fought against that. We offered another solution and it clearly passed the Legislature with a majority votes. Unfortunately, we have to take the Legislature to court – again – to carry out the will of the body and the will of the people.”
DID YOU KNOW …
That Governor Calvo & Lt. Governor Tenorio for years have been fighting to pay tax refunds to hardworking Guamanians quickly?
- In February 2011, Governor Calvo announced his intent and plan to pay refunds owed to tax payers … some folks had been waiting five, six years. The Governorintroduced a bill thatincluded a plan to set aside ONE YEAR’S WORTH of tax refunds AHEAD OF TIME to pay for the FOLLOWING YEAR’S REFUNDS.
- Some senators fought the Governor’s efforts and a compromise was reached. Senatorspulled the portion about saving a year ahead. The bill is signed into law and the Administration starts the process of getting tax refund checks into the hands of the people.
- In mid-2011, around the time the Governor sent a bill to the Legislature, attorneys filed a lawsuit asking the Government to pay tax refunds. Several months later, when the Governor’s bill was passed and tax refunds owed back for years were paid, attorneys amended their lawsuit.
- Tax refunds for tax years 2011 and 2017 have been paid within months– to the tune of $1.1B. Of that amount, more than $300 million is for the unfunded federal mandate of Earned Income Tax Credit. (The federal government pays for EITC in the mainland – Guam is excluded from this deal).
- Last year, the administration proposed using a financial tool, Tax Revenue Anticipation Note, utilized by other jurisdictions. A bill was sent to the Legislature to help pay tax refundswithin weeks, and possibly days. Despite the bill passing the Legislature with a majority vote, Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee, secretary of the Legislature, failed to send the bill, delaying tax refund payments. The administration has filed a lawsuit in court to compel senators to help our people by providing tax refunds.