Bill introduced to jump-start GovGuam reorganization

Senator James Moylan (PNC file photo)

Senator James Moylan has introduced Bill 195-35 which seeks to jump-start government reorganization by creating a Commission on Government Reorganization, with the intent of fulfilling the objectives of Public Law 34-87, which passed in 2018.

According to Moylan, P.L. 34-87 not only set up the parameters for reorganization, but it also provided the governor of Guam the complete authority to right-size the government via an executive order.

“The reason we introduced this measure was to merely jump-start the process of government reorganization that already exists in public law,” Moylan said. “We believe that a balanced commission, which the bill provides for, would be able to offer a more detailed plan on rightsizing the government. If we as elected officials are committed to reducing regressive taxes – assuring that our teachers, nurses and public safety officials are properly compensated – and that critical services are efficiently funded, then we need a serious discussion on reorganization right now,” the senator added.

With the recent discussions on reducing regressive taxes and its potential impact on the collections of the government of Guam, Moylan said a thorough plan of reorganization is needed now, more than ever, with the intent of creating cost-saving measures to complement new revenue options.

However, since such decisions would require a thorough analysis and a balanced discussion, Moylan said it is vital that not only a commission be created, but one that consists of members from all three branches of the government, the business sector, and the general public.

Moylan said his Bill 195-35 would accomplish this, not only creating a Commission on Government Reorganization but also requiring that the commission provide a right-sizing plan to the governor of Guam within 180 days for consideration. This would allow the chief executive to utilize the provisions outlined in P.L. 34-87 if she decides to enact all or some of the plan, and she may also elect to avoid or postpone the recommendations if that is the decision of her governance.

“The existing law does not mandate that the governor implement all or part of what the commission recommends. However, nothing precludes the current or future legislatures from considering the recommendations as cost-cutting measures, therefore the efforts of this body would ultimately establish a framework for reorganization,” Moylan said.

“Remember, we do not know what the savings element might be when we right-size things, as it may be $50 million, or it might be $1 million, but we won’t know until we attempt the process. Doing nothing is not an option,” he added.

Bill 195-35 also stipulates that there shall be no funding authorized for the commission to accomplish its objectives, and any or all needed resources shall come from existing agency budgets. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to authorize taxpayer funding for a commission whose sole purpose is to establish a plan to save taxpayer dollars,” Moylan concluded.