NEWS: Reduced budget leans on island’s at-risk youth to provide toothpaste & soap
July 11, 2018
Hagåtña – Following the repeal of the 2% sales tax, Government of Guam agencies have been tasked to respond to the Bureau of Budget Management and Research (BBMR) with a series of options on how each agency will function. If the gap left by the federal government’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017 goes unfilled, the Department of Youth Affairs’ submission may require clients and their families to provide basic necessities for the duration of their stay at the facility.
Don’t just take our word for it, Speaker BJ Cruz has also pleaded with his colleagues during session saying the shortfall is very, very real.
With a radical reduction in budget, DYA Director Peter Alecxis Ada states, “Close the department. Tell the judges to release the clients.” He continues, “I can barely function under Option 3 – it cuts 33% of my budget out. It removes all purchase of cleaning items, toilet tissue, food … I will have to reduce the contracts for nursing services, client services (counseling services)… DYA would be barely able to function.”
The Mangilao facility is home to the island’s youth offenders who are remanded into the custody and care of DYA. These clients have serious offenses like family violence, burglary, and assault, just to name a few. A further reduction in budget would mean less than adequate number of corrections personnel whose duties, in addition to security at the compound, include transport requirements for client’s hearing at the courts, medical appointments, and counseling sessions for rehabilitation.
The department’s ability to pay utilities would also be handicapped. Procurement of basic necessities for its client population – like toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap – would instead have to come from the clients themselves.
DYA would be forced to terminate contracts in nursing services, client services (i.e. counseling), thus bringing any hope of rehabilitation to a screeching halt.
The Governor, Speaker Cruz, Public Auditor Brooks, financial experts agreed that there should be some revenue solution to fill the gap created by the federal tax cuts — with the understanding that cuts also have to be made.
Even armed with this information, Senators Tom Ada, Frank Aguon Jr., Dennis Rodriguez Jr., Telena Nelson, Regine Biscoe Lee, Joe S. San Agustin, Therese Terlaje and the bill’s author, Michael San Nicolas, Republican Sens. James Espaldon, Mary Torres and Fernando Esteves repealed the sales tax — which also stripped away $40 million for the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Department of Education. And they didn’t put forth a revenue source to address the shortfall.

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