Pangelinan Counters Calvo’s Critique of Budget Entry for $18M GWA Payment

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Guam – Senator Ben Pangelinan is assuring Governor Calvo that the Legislature’s budget bill anticipates the delay of the $18 million dollar GWA payment to the General Fund ordered by the PUC.

Yesterday, [Wednesday] the Governor’s office issued a release critical of that appropriation pointing out that the PUC order is under court challenge and accusing lawmakers of jeopardizing the health insurance coverage for GovGuam employees because that $18 million is earmarked to pay for the SelectCare Health insurance coverage.

However in a release today [Thursday] the budget committee Chair responds that spending bill sent to the Governor provides until April 2012 before the revenue is factored in and that should allow enough time for the legal challenge to be settled.

And if the dispute is not settled by then, there is a back up source of funding . Senator Pangelinan says “the budget bill explicitly states that if the funds from the GWA Reimbursement and the Section 2718 Fund are not available for appropriation, funds from the Working Capital Fund will instead be applied for the payment of health insurance costs and tax refunds.”

READ the release from Senator Pangelinan in FULL below:

BUDGET BILL PROVIDES OPTIONS FOR FUNDING HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS AND REFUND PAYMENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (September 1, 2011– Hagåtña) – Senator Pangelinan is assuring the Governor that the SB145-31 provides the structure which anticipates the delay of the $18 million dollar GWA payment to the General Fund ordered by the PUC. The bill provides two precautionary measures with time restrictions that delay the application of these appropriations until April 2012 and a back-up funding source. The time restrictions allow time for legal matters to be settled among the PUC, GWA, and the Executive Branch.

The bill explicitly states that if the funds from the GWA Reimbursement and the Section 2718 Fund are not available for appropriation, funds from the Working Capital Fund will instead be applied for the payment of health insurance costs and tax refunds.

Chapter XII, Section 3(j)(3) explicitly states the following:
“Working Capital Fund: All remaining bond proceeds after the payment of the above shall be deposited into the Working Capital Fund.  Payments made pursuant to this Subsection shall only apply to Section 5, Part I of Chapter XIV of this Act and to Section 7, Part I of Chapter XIV of this Act should the GWA Reimbursement or the Section 2718 Fund funds not be sufficient. This shall not constitute a double appropriation.  Any other use of the Working Capital Fund funds shall be subject to legislative appropriation.”

“This information has been reported to the public inaccurately, and we want to set the record straight that the Committee and my colleagues included an alternate funding source if these revenues are collected to fund the appropriation,” says Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Ben Pangelinan (D-Barrigada).

“I am urging the Governor to work with the CCU to agree to make the payment in the way he was able to get the CCU to agree to pay the past due and future Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the General Fund. I am confident he can succeed in the effort as well,” stated Senator Pangelinan.

For further information, please contact the Offices of Senator ben pangelinan at 473-4236 or email at senbenp@guam.net.