We received this media release from the Republican senators in the Guam Legislature. In it, they announce the introduction of four bills that pay tax refunds, support education facilities maintenance, buy police cars, and pay for overtime owed to public safety officers. Governor Calvo supports these measures, and impresses on senators that these bills address important and urgent issues for all Guamanians.
The release follows:
I Mina’trentai Dos Na Liheslaturan Guahan
32nd Guam Legislature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2013
$15M More in Section 30; GOP Senators Want It to Go to Tax Refunds, Schools, and Public Safety Immediately
Senators consistent on fiscal responsibility, spending priorities; Governor Calvo expresses urgency for Legislature to pass bills soon
The Republican senators are proposing a responsible plan (via four bills) to pay more tax refunds, improve school facilities, pay debts to public safety officers, and purchase more police cars.
“These are priorities. Our concerns are taxpayers, students, safety and security,” Minority Leader Sen. Tony Ada said.
This appropriation of revenue is based on real cash that will be in the bank before the end of the month. The Republican senators, working together with Governor Eddie Calvo, received news that the U.S. Government will reimburse Guam an additional and unanticipated $15.45 million in Section 30 funds above the requested amount.
“Republican lawmakers thought the best thing to do was to be consistent. We want to be responsible with that money, and that means using it to pay bills and to invest in priorities, like schools and safety officers,” Sen. Chris Duenas said.
The senators this morning introduced four separate bills making a total of $15.45 million in appropriations against the Section 30 revenues:
1. $9 million will pay for tax refunds
2. $3 million will begin funding public private partnerships for school facilities renovation and maintenance.
3. $3 million will be allocated by BBMR to the fire, police, and corrections departments for overtime obligations owed these agencies’ officers.
4. $449,119, will buy police cars with maintenance contracts
$9 million for tax refunds
Governor Calvo has been using up cash to fund Guam Memorial Hospital. With about $20 million estimated to be the balance owed Guamanians for tax refunds this year, an immediate $9 million infusion of revenue immediately available as cash means one simple thing: the next round of tax refunds will be bigger and will come sooner than the administration planned.
“Our bill gets taxpayers their tax refunds as quickly as possible
,” Senator Tommy Morrison said.
Real cash pays tax refunds; a “Provision” doesn’t
This appropriation should not be confused with the “Provision for Tax Refunds” that has been the center of talk during budget deliberations. That provision is a book entry that only materializes as income taxes are collected throughout the entire year, meaning that provision isn’t immediately available.
$3M to schools
Two years ago Sen. Aline Yamashita authored a law that allowed GDOE to develop public private partnerships to allow the school system to address facilities and maintenance needs of our schools. This $3 million appropriation provides 60% of the initial investment needed for this management contractor to execute the goals of P.L. 31-29 the “Teaching and Learning Communities Act”; part of the money also will be used by GDOE to finally put together a 10-year capital improvement plan.
“The facilities and maintenance unit will have the resources and training needed to do their work,” Sen. Yamashita said. “We finally have the initial means to make this innovative investment work, and only good things can come of this. This will strengthen the ability for principals and teachers to concentrate their time on teaching and learning.”
$3M for GPD, GFD, DOC overtime costs
“We continue to prioritize public safety as we know there’s a huge concern about the crimes being committed and the safety of our families,” Sen. Brant McCreadie said. “When we saw this money, we thought we finally have an opening to pay our men and women at the police, fire, and corrections departments for the long hours they have worked to ensure our safety.”
$449,119 for police cars & maintenance
The balance of the revenue source is proposed to buy police cars with maintenance or service contracts. This will augment the current fleet and, with the flexibility of a larger inventory, provide GPD the ability to rotate police cars off the streets and into the maintenance shop.
“I think one of the messages here is that we recognize what’s important. We’re committing this to pay off our obligations and invest in students and safety,” Sen. Mike Limtiaco said.
“I’ll sign these bills into law. I appreciate the priorities of these senators and stand next to them to ensure tax refunds, safety, security, and schools are supported.” Governor Calvo said.