AG Says GovGuam Will Shutdown If No Agreement Reached On Budget

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Guam – Attorney General Lenny Rapadas has concluded that GovGuam will be faced with a shutdown if the Governor and lawmakers fail to reach agreement on the 2012 budget.

Rapadas was responding to the Legislature’s Rules Committee Chair Senator Rory Respicio who requested the opinion earlier this week fearing a shutdown would occur if the Governor vetoed the legislature’s budget an lawmakers failed to muster enough votes to or\ver-ride the veto or pass a new budget.

In his opinion, Rapadas writes that “if the Budget Act of 2012 has been vetoed in its entirety by the Governor of Guam, and an override attempt by the Guam Legislature proves later to be unsuccessful at the termination of the fiscal year, the carryover or rollover provision…would not apply.”

“Most of the government of Guam agencies would therefore have no legal appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012. the government of Guam, other than certain autonomous government agencies or public corporations and the Department of Education, will soon if not immediately thereafter be confronted with a shutdown of their operations and services.”

The Governor has vetoed the budget bill. The legislature is currently deadlocked over an over-ride. The Governor and lawmakers have until September 31st to reach agreement on a new budget and avert a shutdown.

READ Attorney General Rapadas letter to Senator Respicio

READ Senator Respicio’s release in FULL below:

September 2, 2011
For Immediate Release

AG AGREES WITH RESPICIO:  
FAILED ATTEMPT TO OVERRIDE VETO  
COULD LEAD TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

(Hagåtña,  Guam)  –  Chief  Deputy  Attorney  General  Phil  Tydingco  issued  a response on behalf of Attorney General Lenny Rapadas to Majority Leader Rory J. Respicio’s August 29, 2011 inquiry as to whether or not a failed attempt to override  Governor  Eddie  Calvo’s  veto  of  the  Fiscal  Year  2012  government budget  bill,  Substitute  Bill  No.  145‐31(COR),  could  lead  to  a  government shutdown.

In his response to Respicio, Tydingco writes, “…if the Budget Act of 2012 has been vetoed by the Governor of Guam, and an override attempt by the Guam Legislature proves later to be unsuccessful at the termination of the fiscal year, the carryover or rollover provisions of 48 USC 1423j(b) [the Organic Act] would not apply.  Most of the government of Guam agencies would therefore have no legal appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012.  The government of Guam, other than certain  autonomous  government  agencies  or  public  corporations  and  the Department of Education, will soon if not immediately thereafter be confronted with a shutdown of their operation and services.”

Although Governor Calvo and his team have repeatedly claimed that a rollover budget  would  take  effect  and  not  a  shutdown,  Tydingco  affirms  Respicio’s argument saying, “If the Legislature is unable to revise or enact a vetoed bill via legislative override, the government shuts down until the two branches work out a compromise.”

Copies of Respicio’s August 29, 2011 letter and Attorney Tydingco’s September 2, 2011 response are attached to this release.