February 27, 2018
Hagåtña – Governor Eddie Calvo has ordered a moratorium on renewing qualifying certificates.
“With the federal tax cuts having the immediate impact of creating a revenue shortfall for this current fiscal year and for the next, we need to first take stock of where we are at – especially if Bill 245 doesn’t pass,” said Governor Calvo. “The moratorium will remain until we know where we stand financially and whether renewing the QCs will help or harm our island’s economy.”
As a result of the new federal tax cuts, GovGuam is facing an estimated $67M revenue shortfall. Bill 245 aims to address that shortfall, while also providing much needed support to the Department of Education, at Speaker BJ Cruz’s request, and the Guam Memorial Hospital. Of the proposed 2 percentage-point increase to the business privilege tax, the bulk of it will sunset in 24 months, and only .75% will remain as a dedicated funding source for our only public hospital.
Beyond Bill 245, executive branch agencies/offices also are implementing drastic cost-cutting measures and exploring other revenue enhancement opportunities.
One measure that was proposed by Senators Morrison and Esteves in the past year is making the Guam Legislature part-time for cost savings. It was included in the fiscal realignment plan, along with revenue enhancement ideas that have been raised during recent discussions.
If the majority of senators are not in support of this then it can be taken out as we arrive at consensus.
“On a personal level, I don’t necessarily agree with a few things that have been discussed, recreational marijuana and part-time Legislature are among them. Both of these have been discussed by Senators and members of the community so we’re acknowledging them,” Governor Calvo stated. “Additionally, I also don’t necessarily agree that a Governor should be the one to tell Senators how to organize their house.”