(Hagåtña) – In yesterday’s public hearing for Bills 244 and 245, Speaker Benjamin Cruz stated the idea behind his bill came from a YouTube video he found while searching the Internet for Guam posterity plans.
He opened the hearing by showing one of the first weekly addresses of 2011 by Guam’s newly elected Governor, Eddie Baza Calvo. As a result of the government’s financial status at the time, Governor Calvo chose to stop the implementation of the Hay Plan, which the Competitive Wage Act (CWA) of 2014 is based off of.
The FY 2010 deficit was $336.4 million
Nearly $270 million in tax refunds were owed to the people of Guam, going back five or six years
Vendor payables were nearing $400 million
One sometimes two working ambulances for a population of 160,00 people
13% unemployment rate
The list above names just a few of the serious issues the administration inherited after coming into office.
Through the leadership of Governor Calvo, the administration’s fiscal management team, and the hard working employees of GovGuam – tax refunds were paid and finances were made right. He then began to work on implementing the CWA and in February of 2014, GovGuam employees received their first salary adjustment in almost 30 years.
It has been four years since that monumental moment, and GovGuam’s finances have continued to improve.
More than $1.3 billion in tax refunds have been paid
Surpluses in FY 2012, 2013 and 2016
$17 million surplus for FY 2017 as a result of the administration’s financial management
13 working ambulances
4.5% unemployment rate
The financial shortfall that the government faces today is certainly not one that we drummed up on our own. It is yet another example of a costly federal mandate that we have no control over, let alone a say or even a seat at the table where discussions are had.
Under Governor Calvo’s leadership, the Government of Guam’s finances have grown and stabilized.
So thank you Speaker Cruz for reminding us throughout the day, about our past and how far we’ve come.