March 13, 2018

Hagåtña — This government is going to shut down without a solution to the $67 million financial shortfall we’re looking at for the end of the week.

Senator Mike San Nicolas opened session this morning introducing an amendment that would exempt Guam residents from a sales tax. The San Nicolas amendment is not a solution to the fiscal crisis, and at best political theater designed to inject him into local news stories.

In listing the litany of items that are raising the cost of living on Guam, he conveniently leaves out that GovGuam employees are paying more in retirement. That increase that is costing GovGuam employees is caused by the law that Sen. San Nicolas advocated a few years ago that INCREASED the unfunded pension liability for the Government of Guam Retirement Fund by approximately $173 million dollars.

“While the amendment is great politics and a nice sound byte for the news media, it guts the bill of the revenue needed to address the fiscal crisis, abandons GMH, and keeps thousands of government employees on track for a furlough in a couple of months,” Governor’s spokesperson Oyaol Ngiraikl said.

As we move forward, the Administration is asking those senators who are on record saying they will not support the bill on the necessary increase — to please refrain from introducing amendments and further delays real solutions.

“Doing so is insincere, a disservice to their colleagues, and does not address thousands of government employees who are on their way to furlough,” the Governor’s spokeswoman said.

The San Nicolas amendment fails to address the fiscal crisis, abandons GMH and thousands of government employees.

“It’s ironic that Senator San Nicolas was absent an entire week of session on bills that address a dedicated funding source for GMH and fix healthcare on Guam for those who cannot afford to travel off island like him,” the Governor’s spokesperson said.

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