August 30, 2018
Hagåtña — In response to a request sent last month to the Office of Insular Affairs for a reimbursement of Section 30 payments, the Governor’s office received word that Guam’s reimbursement will be $77 million.
“This means we’ll be able to pay out more tax refunds and address other obligations,” Governor Calvo stated.
Of course, if Speaker BJ Cruz, Sen. Mike San Nicolas and Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee had not fought GOVERNOR’S PLAN TO PAY TAX REFUNDS FASTER through a banking arrangement called a “TRAN”, people wouldn’t have had to wait this long for refunds.
“We could have paid the tax refunds months ago, and used this amount to pay off the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note instead,” the Governor stated. “But it seems that some sitting senators in this Democrat majority would still rather burden our people by forcing them to wait.”
And for all their talk about wanting to help the people and be financially prudent, these senators ignored the fact that the people of Guam would have received their refunds faster, and the cost on interest would have been less.
“But this is par for the course when it comes to these senators who seem to do what they want when they want – on the one hand saying they’re upholding the law and in the next hour dismissing it,” Governor Calvo stated.
Last year, when the Governor fought for faster tax refund payments – to the point where he took the Legislature to court – Speaker BJ Cruz, Mike San Nicolas and Regine Lee argued that Section 30 funds would only be $68 million and using that as an argument against the TRAN.
This year, the Governor and his fiscal team were fighting for the same figure they’d fought for in previous years, and sent a letter to the Department of Insular Affairs asking for $78 million.
Speaker BJ acknowledged this in his letter to his colleagues dated August 24, 2018 where the Speaker wrote: “Furthermore, the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Budget and Management Research (BBMR) provided the Legislature with sworn testimony indicating that just two days before that testimony was received, the government of Guam sent its request for approximately $78 million in Section 30 funds.”
This statement, where the Speaker touts agreeing with Governor Calvo, directly contradicts a previous letter he wrote to his same colleagues dated May 7, 2017: “…Section 30 funds are now effectively capped at $68,603,100 for the foreseeable future.”
Governor Calvo is thankful that he didn’t stop pushing beyond what the Democratic Leadership lobbied the federal government for.
“I’m glad I did send in that request because at the $68 million that Speaker BJ, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo lobbied for, then we would have been in some really really big trouble,” Governor Calvo stated.