August 19, 2018
Hagåtña – The letter from Department of Interior, Secretary Douglas Domenech specifically states that $68 million is the 2014 threshold determined by the Department of Treasury for the Guam World War II Claims.
The act specifies that the deposits into that claim be comprised of Section 30 collected beyond Fiscal Year 2014 amounts. The administration, compelled by the reducing General Fund levels caused by the federal tax policy, wrote to Secretary Domenech to state a case for a higher baseline level.
Domenech explained in his letter the calculations for the 2014 collection amount of $68 million – reiterating that the 2014 level sets the threshold for Section 30 and anything beyond that would be used to pay war claims.
“As you know, on March 15, 2018, the Department of the Treasury responded to Congresswoman Bordallo’s request. In the response, the Department of Treasury states that the amount of duties, taxes, and fees collected under the Section 30 of the Organic Act of Guam during fiscal year 2014 was $68,603,100,” Secretary Domenech states.
Speaker BJ Cruz brought the issue of the Section 30 threshold into conversations last year on the Governor’s effort to pay tax refunds faster. Speaker Cruz, Sen. Mike San Nicolas and Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee argued for the lesser amount of $68 million as they argued against the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note, saying the threshold for Section 30 for war claims is $68 million.
“Thus, unless a separate Congressional appropriation can be found, Guam’s Section 30 funds are now effectively capped at $68,603,100 for the foreseeable future,” Speaker Cruz stated in a letter to his senatorial colleagues.
The Legislature was fully aware of the cap and used it in their argument against the Governor’s attempt to get tax refunds, money owed to Guamanians into their hands.