July 2, 2018
Hagåtña — Three senators demonstrated their lack of knowledge on finance and economics in session today on a bill that that would negatively impact the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH), the Department of Education (DOE), and the economy by supporting a bill that would:
1. Strip GMH of its dedicated funding source of $30M every single year moving forward, and at a time when the hospital needs life saving facility investments and funding to address accreditation and CMS findings.
2. Strip DOE of $10M every single year moving forward. These funds are dedicated to facilities repairs and improvements in the classrooms.
3. Leaves the Government of Guam an estimated $120M- $160M shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year. Not making up for this loss could “derail” our economy according to the Department of Labor’s Chief Economist Gary Hiles.
Senator Therese Terlaje referred to the fiscal crisis earlier this year as a “manufactured” crisis, demonstrating her limited understanding of finance and economics. Terlaje doesn’t understand that an unanticipated $120M- $160M shortfall in revenue is a crisis, then this government and our community is truly in trouble.
Senator Fernando Esteves ignored the testimony of the Department of Labor’s Chief Economist stating, “$160M shortfall or $120M shortfall, we are going to have to face it,” Esteves said.
Senator Regine Lee said she did not believe GMH and DOE would suffer from losing $30M a year and $10M a year respectively, ignoring the rising trend of medical fundraisers and people begging in the streets for off island medical treatment.
Gubernatorial candidate Frank Aguon also supported revoking $30M from GMH and $10M from DOE, despite the perennial problems of underfunding, existing since he started his career as a politician over 20 years ago.
None of the Senators offered a solution to the shortfall, funding GMH or DOE.
July 2, 2018