March 12, 2018
Hagåtña — Proposed amendments to Bill 248 fail to address the urgency and magnitude of GovGuam’s $67 million shortfall.
“It’s clear that there is a plan by certain senators to create a slow death to any solution offered up as a solution to the fiscal crisis facing our government and our island,” Governor Calvo stated.
Senators spent another day in session struggling through a solution to address the fiscal crisis caused by the federal tax cuts and exacerbated by the inaction at the Legislature. The fiscal team has warned that every day without a solution would increase the financial gap.
“While the administration is doing all it can to keep from shutting the government down, certain senators are calling for more public hearings to discuss what we already know,” the Governor stated.
“We’ve had a public hearing on financial solutions based on BPT and then on Sales Tax, they want to go through rules and regulations for implementing a tax, and now they are filibustering. People are worried about services being curtailed and GovGuam employees aren’t sleeping at night because they are worried about their livelihoods. There is no urgency at the Legislature to fix this crisis.”
Here is the context in which these discussions are being held:
• we nearly had a payless payday last Friday�• next week’s payday is uncertain (and if we can’t pay people then how do we keep services open)�• we have started the furlough process�• we have started making cuts in services�• we are currently on CREDIT WATCH by S&P on our General Obligations Bonds
Meanwhile, today, the Legislature spent the majority of it’s time again addressing amendments by senators who have stated on record that they will not support the bill.
For example, Senator Mike San Nicolas proposed an amendment that would have gut the Department of Education by $24 million dollars while exempting the legislature itself from moving to part-time, which was included in a fiscal realignment plan.
The plan was sent down by the Administration at the request of the Speaker PRIOR to any bills being introduced to increase revenue. Senator Frank Aguon Jr. supported the San Nicolas amendment, which failed.
“While we appreciate Senator Joe San Agustin’s leadership to address the fiscal crisis, fund DOE, and provide GMH with a dedicated funding source, it appears that senators are derailing the process by putting ‘poison pills’ into the bill. The amendments proposed today, would have kept the government in crisis mode, cut the Department of Education by $24 million, do not protect government employees from the furlough process, and fail to address a possible government shut down.”