March 4, 2018
Hagåtña — Today, senators sent mixed messages to the public and the Administration on how they want to address the fiscal crisis and the shortfall for the next six months. Acting Speaker Terlaje acknowledged that the government is facing a $67 million shortfall in revenues for the current fiscal year.
Frequently Asked Questions: What you need to know as we start another week.
Q. Is the Legislature closer to resolving the fiscal crisis keeping fire stations and the police stations open?
A. No. Senators continue to get wrapped around the axle on the same questions they have been asking since January. In addition to this, they continue to discuss cost-cutting measures that have a minimal impact in the context of a $67M shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year — about six months.
Q. Senator Terlaje noted drastic cuts need to be made, but asked if senators could get cost-cutting plans in writing. Why hasn’t the Administration provided plans?
A. Senators were given a plan. Last month, the Bureau of Budget Management and Research sent senators the cost-cutting measures from individual line agencies. The administration also sent to senators the fiscal realignment plan.
Q. Should the community be concerned?
A. Yes. The legislature has failed to take any meaningful action on passing a bill to address the current fiscal crisis brought on by federal tax cuts. Due to the lack of leadership and meaningful action by senators, more painful actions will need to be taken by agencies across the board as the days go by. Not addressing the incredible $67M shortfall in the immediate days ahead, will cause the Government of Guam to eventually run out of cash, at which point employees will not be paid.
Q. How is the legislature sending mixed messages?
A. On one end, they have not taken action and want the Administration to make cuts, but on the other end, they have criticized the cuts being made. On one end they don’t want cut government services, but on the other end they don’t want to increase revenue. You can’t have both.
Q. Why is the legislature having such a difficult time passing a bill?
A. The only conclusion that can be made is: 1) You have senators running for office who want to ensure that government services, government employees, and the economy are in pain going into the upcoming election, reversing the progress that has been made the past 7 years. 2) There are certain freshman senators who do not have a grasp of government finances and how public administration works.
Q. Who can solve this problem?
A. The Guam Legislature.
Q. What can I do?
A. Contact your senators. Remind them that more government services and paychecks are at stake.
Cruz, Benjamin J.F. 477-2520/1 firstname.lastname@example.org
Terlaje, Therese 472-3586 email@example.com
Lee, Régine 472-3455/6 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ada, Thomas 473-3301/2 email@example.com
San Agustin, Joe 989-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nelson, Telena 989-4678 email@example.com
San Nicolas, Michael 472-6453 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodriguez Jr., Dennis G. 649-8638/0511 email@example.com
Aguon Jr., Frank 475-4861/2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Espaldon, James 475-4546 email@example.com
Morrison, Thomas 478-8669 firstname.lastname@example.org
Torres, Mary 475-6279 email@example.com
Borja Muna, Louise 969-9852/9853 firstname.lastname@example.org
Castro, William M. 969-1225/6 email@example.com
Esteves, Fernando 969-3376 firstname.lastname@example.org