Guam News - Guam News
Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo received a copy of the 2012 budget bill this morning and his fiscal team is conducting a thorough review of it. Democrat Senators are urging the governor to sign the measure in order to prevent a stalemate that they fear could lead to a government shutdown. The administration says there will be no government shutdown.
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Democrat lawmakers have passed the 2012 budget. The governor said he would veto it largely because it provided for a $180 million dollar bond for tax refunds as opposed to the $343 million dollar bond he requested. If he vetoes it the Democrats are unlikely to have the ten votes needed to override his veto because the bill barely passed with a vote of 8-7. Senator Rory Respicio believes that the organic act provides for a roll-over of the current years budget if the legislature fails to pass a budget but since they have passed a budget he fears that a stalemate between the legislature and the administration could lead to a government shutdown. "If we didn't pass a bill at all then we would've had a roll over budget provision through the organic act but because we passed a bill and if the governor vetoes that bill if we don't have an override then he is gonna force our community to go into further panic and create this kind of a chaos which would have a rippling effect on our economy right now," said Senator Respicio.
While the administration agrees with Senator Respicio's legal interpretation they do not believe it will come to this. The Governor's Chief of Staff Frank Arriola is confident that the legislature and the administration will come to an agreement on the budget before the fiscal year ends on September 30th. "I don't believe that the government will come to that point I believe that the legislature and the governor and our administration we'll work together to resolve these issues it's nothing that's insurmountable I don't believe," said Arriola.
Senator Respicio and the Democrat leadership have sent a letter to Governor Calvo urging him to sign the bill citing the economic uncertainties in the U.S. mainland specifically the $1.3 trillion in cuts over the next ten years that a congressional super committee is currently working on.
Nevertheless the administration remains adamant that it needs to pay out all tax refunds. "But the one thing we cannot compromise is the amount of money that we owe to the taxpayers that's just you can't compromise on something that you actually owe somebody we're lookin to move it off the backs of the taxpayer and into a hardened structure within the bank and we think that's where that debt belongs," said Arriola.
The governor is not alone in his quest for tax refunds. He has received the support of the Mayor's Council of Guam, and just today announced support from the Guam Chamber of Commerce.
"I don't understand the chamber. Really, I respect and regard them to be business men and I don't know anyone that would put their business in that much of an exposure. I mean, I know that many of them go through their own challenges and many of them are owed corporate tax refunds, but there are provisions in dealing with the Government of Guam...they can be guaranteed tax credits," replied Senator Respicio.
It appears that the administration is not willing to compromise on their $343 million dollar bond borrowing proposal for tax refunds as they sent out a release this afternoon stating "You can't compromise with money that doesn't belong to you in the first place."
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