STATE OF THE ISLAND: Bridging Guamanians from Poverty to Prosperity
Governor Calvo delivers first annual address
Immediate Release: March 14, 2011
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo unveiled his long-term plans to bridge Guamanians from poverty to prosperity. TheGovernor, in his first report on the state of the island, listed the dismal economic conditions the people are living through today.
“We are on the cusp of what can be the greatest economic upsurge in our history. Yet, when we look at theisland we know today, there is a great divide between poverty and prosperity. We’re told about a great future, but before us now are problems that hardly lend to our ability to focus on what’s ahead. Today, my dear people, too many Guamanians are living in poverty,” Governor Calvo told the people of Guam.  “My fellow Guamanians, the strength of society is tested upon the weakest and most vulnerable among us. I cannot, in good faith, stand here and tell you the state of the island is strong, when so many families struggle, and so many children traverse through the circumstances they are dealt. The most important point here is that the stateof the island today is the condition through which children are growing up. If we want to break the cruel cycle ofpoverty, if we want to stop the suffering from becoming generational, if we want today’s generation of children to have more than we ever had, my dear people, the time to act is now!”
From there, he laid out plans to fix the government’s finances, improve service levels, manage the military buildup, pursue longstanding issues with the federal government, and fund the education agencies in order to sustain economic growth.
“I appreciate the strong stance the Governor took when it comes to issues like the Federal Government trying to sell Fena.  He’s right.  That water belongs to the people of Guam.  This was an idealistic speech–and while some may be cynical about that, I think there should be a renewed sense of hope and confidence in our island,” stated Sen. Judi Guthertz. She added, “the Governor and I may not always agree on every issue that comes before us, but as a Senator I will continue to work with Governor Calvo and his administration to identify solutions to Guam’s many challenges and to help improve the quality of life of all of Guam’s residents.”
“Governor Calvo said, ‘everything starts with a dream,’ and that’s important.  Our children and our families need to dream big dreams.  As leaders, it’s our job to make dreams for all come true.  That’s what I’m looking forward to do with the Governor.  If we really want to leave our island in better shape for the next generation, we must prepare each and all of them to succeed in the future, and we must start today.  Governor Calvo and I will always agree on this point,” Senator Aline Yamashita added.
Here are highlights of the Governor’s address:
– The state of the island for the most vulnerable:
â—¦ 50,000 Guamanian adults not earning an income
â—¦ 6,510 Guamanians are looking for a job
â—¦ At last 43,000 Guamanians on some form of public assistance â—¦ 52,000 adults making less than $11,000 a year — the national poverty threshold
â—¦ Guam has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the nation â—¦ Guamanians cannot keep up with thegrowing prices of homes. They cannot afford land, construction or even one of the 9,100 existing homes that are vacant
– The state of government finances:
â—¦ The government owes Guamanians hundreds of millions of dollars in tax refunds, amounting to an average ofthousands of dollars for everyone owed a refund â—¦ The last time tax refunds were paid in the year they were filed was 1991, 20 years ago
â—¦ Preliminary draft report from the Public Auditor shows the deficit grew by $84 million to a level of $349 million as of September 30, 2010 â—¦ Millions still owed on vendor payables, COLA, the permanent injunction, theFederal Bureau of Prisons, and more
– The government must fix its finances by getting rid of the deficit and alleviating the cash crises so thatthe island is prepared for the economic future ahead.
– At least $85 million in revenue generation through better tax collections, EITC reimbursements, Section 30 reconciliation and plugging tax leaks.
– Cost containment measures now in place.
– Conversion of services to information technology platforms. This includes electronic health records andthe routing and posting of government documents online. The long-term goal is to place more government services online.
– Pay past-due tax refunds by financing the deficit. This will pay tax refunds this year and ensure refunds are paid on time next fiscal year forward.
– Guam Memorial Hospital is improving under the new management team.
– The administration is pursuing Medicare acceptance in the Philippines
– Public safety agencies will receive funding priority, especially as the population increases.
– The Governor honored the “silent courage and kind-hearted heroism” of Lynda Aguon, State Historic Preservation Officer, who signed the Programmatic Agreement.
– The administration will be engaging the federal government soon on the return of federal land.
– The Governor will be outsourcing a program management office to manage the myriad of projects related to the buildup.
– The Governor will pursue longstanding federal issues, including war reparations, compact impact reimbursements, greater control of the exclusive economic zone, veterans claims and processing service in Guam, visa waiver programs, and binding political status commission.
– The Governor called for the island to address the exercise of self-determination now, and to work with Congresswoman Bordallo to bind the federal government to Guam’s choice.
– Not one penny will be spent to purchase Fena.
– The Governor will bring together community stakeholders to produce an economic master plan:
â—¦ A consortium of business leaders, planners and other stakeholders will project industries and workforce needs of the future.
â—¦ The information will be given to the private sector and educators to plan the future. â—¦ A consortium ofeducators and stakeholders will build a new curriculum and assess the resources needed to educate children in today’s classrooms into the workforce of the future.
– This Classrooms-to-Careers initiative will have the full support of the Governor, who wants thegovernment’s resources to be used to make a sizable investment into education by Fiscal Year 2013.
2011 State of the Island Address

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