July 2, 2018
Hagåtña – Today, was a dark day for the people of Guam. The inexperience of freshmen senators combined with the personal motives of senators running for higher office to include Senators Mike San Nicolas (congressional candidate), Frank Aguon (gubernatorial candidate), and Dennis Rodriguez (gubernatorial candidate) robbed the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) and the Department of Education (DOE) of $40 million (M) a year, placed the island back in a fiscal crisis, and has left the cost of food and goods on Guam forever inflated.
Senators passed a bill that:
1) Stripped GMHA of its dedicated funding source of $30M every single year moving forward, at a time when the hospital needs life saving facility investments and funding to address accreditation and CMS findings.
2) Stripped DOE of $10M every single year moving forward. These funds are dedicated to facilities repairs and improvements in the classrooms.
3) Placed the island back in the fiscal crisis it was in earlier this year, leaving a funding gap of $120M – $160M.
“Today the employees at the Guam Memorial Hospital were abandoned by the people entrusted to fund them; $10 million a year was stripped from our school children; thousands of government employees are left back in limbo; and our economy once again, uncertain,” Governor Eddie Calvo said.
Despite warnings from economic experts on not replacing the funding removed by a repeal of taxes, senators passed the bill without replacing the revenue streams for the hospital, the schools, and government operations. This will have implications in the public and private sectors.
“Moving forward, senators running for higher office will own the pain they have inflicted upon GMH, DOE, the Government of Guam, and the economy,” Governor Calvo said.
In addition to placing the island back in a fiscal crisis, if history repeats itself, the cost of goods will not roll back when the BPT sunsets in October.
“In essence, what senators have done the past few months is increased the cost of goods on working families, without leaving GMH and DOE a dedicated funding source and the government severely short on cash. Everyone loses,” Governor Calvo said. “This is the most irresponsible act committed by any legislature- ever.”
Before the vote, Speaker Cruz warned that shortfall in revenues caused by the federal tax cuts is real.
“There are some real tough times ahead … I assure you that the revenue loss is at least $120 million and close to $160 million if not more,” the Speaker told Senators today.
“Tell me where you think you’ll be able to support cuts. Do we take the OPA’s recommendations?” the Speaker asked. “Who’s going to make the first motion on this floor with her last audit? She had a recommendation on how to be able to deal with non-performance pay in the Fire Department. Who’s going to sponsor that?”
July 2, 2018