NEWS: Governor to Senators: Quicker tax refund payments is now in your hands
The Governor’s fiscal team has been summoned to the Legislature in a Committee of the Whole to discuss the Governor’s bill and Speaker’s substitute bill to pay tax refunds quicker.
To be clear, the administration stands by Bill 1(1-S). The information has been provided to the Legislature and it is now up to the Senators to pay tax refunds within weeks.
Unfortunately, the Speaker has submitted a substitute bill that REDUCES the amount of the TRAN and DELAYS it to next year. Additionally, the Speaker’s bill uses the same tool, TRAN, to borrow the $45 million — even as he criticizes the Governor for using the TRAN.
The Governor wrote to the Speaker, stating that the Speaker’s substitute bill fails to do what the people of Guam need. Additionally, the substitute bill gives the federal government a pass because we’re basically agreeing to pay ourselves war claims. And, if we agree that $68 million is the Section 30 amount, we are looking at a shortfall that would mean as many as 1,000 GovGuam jobs. How is the Speaker, and the Congresswoman, going to reconcile that?
Attached is the letter from Governor Calvo to Speaker Cruz. The body of the letter is also pasted below for your convenience.
The Honorable Benjamin Cruz
I Mina’trentai Kuåtro na Liheslaturan Guåhan
Dear Speaker Cruz,
When we first came into office, the Government of Guam owed about $300 million in tax refunds. Some people waited as long as five years for their refunds. As a result of smart fiscal management, we have been able to reduce the amount of liability owed to our tax payers. Continuing in that effort, the Calvo Tenorio administration has provided a solution to get tax refunds to Guamanians within weeks. It is not our money, after all. It is the people’s money. And we should be able to provide it to them without delay.
The Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note is the tool that solves the issue and has been provided to your office, and to the Legislature.
On the other hand, your substitute bill does NOTHING to help: it merely REDUCES the amount we’ll be able to pay and DELAYS the payments to next year. This HYPOCRISY uses the SAME tool we suggested — but again FAILS to get people their tax refunds sooner.
You assert that the Guam World War II War Claims Act threshold is $68 million and would not allow our Government to pay tax refunds quicker to Guamanians who are owed them. That is inconsistent with a Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs report that we provided to the Legislature last week. This is the report the Congresswoman’s office directed Guam Daily Post to last year, when asked about the threshold. That Section 30 fiscal payments report clearly states that $120 million is the amount collected and reimbursed to Guam during FY 2014. The Guam World War II War Claims Act states the threshold would be over “any amount of duties, taxes, and fees collected under such section DURING fiscal year 2014…”
The administration has NOT received any notice from the Department of Interior of an amount smaller than $120 million. We also have requested but not received the report from the Congresswoman’s office. We maintain that $120 million is the threshold according to the DOI report.
Additionally, Congresswoman Bordallo has committed NOT to use Section 30 to pay war claims to our WWII survivors. The Congresswoman must stick to her word or else we face a $10 million shortfall and 1,000 GovGuam layoffs, which the Legislature — and I guess the Congresswoman — will have to figure out.
We continue to call for the passage of Bill 1(1-S) as submitted and presented to the Legislature and to the people of Guam in the effort to pay tax refunds to our people within weeks. Your maneuverings to place obstacles in the way of doing what is right for the people of Guam smacks of political games. This is not a game. We are obligated to pay tax refunds and my original bill provides the tool to help us do that faster.
Your bill DOES NOT solve the problem. It REDUCES the amount of the TRAN. And it DELAYS the solution that we have laid before you. It is now up to you to pay the people their tax refunds or not.
Governor of Guam

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