Governor Camacho & BBMR Director Duenas Dispute Calvo Transition Team’s Estimate of $96M Deficit

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Guam – Governor Camacho is a bit upset over the way the Calvo/Tenorio transition team has announced it’s concerns over what they believe is a $96 million dollar shortfall. In fact his BBMR director Bertha Duenas believes the Calvo/Tenorio team’s numbers are not accurate.

Governor Felix Camacho says he was taken a back by the transition teams recent announcement of concern over a $96 million dollar budgetary shortfall for fiscal year 2011. “Governor-elect Calvo has been chairman of the ways and means committee and these issues have been longstanding that have been growing and accumulating over the years so it should be no surprise to the incoming administration as to the financial challenges that they will face,”

 The governor says they have been forthright and accommodating in the meetings that they have had with transition team members but have not felt the same level of respect. “Individuals like Adolpho Scgambelluri that were very insulting to many of our public safety directors and cabinet members are unnecessary if individuals like Adolpho Scgambelluri are the face of Governor-elect Calvo in representing him to the administration and transition then I think it’s a bad choice,” said Camacho.

 So why does Governor Camacho appear upset, well it may be because his administration feels that the $96 million dollar figure is inaccurate. In fact BBMR director Bertha Duenas explains that this figure is a combination of structural shortfalls and short term temporary shortfalls. “There are basically two kinds of budgetary shortfalls one is short-term temporary shortfalls which result from fluctuating economic conditions affecting the revenue forecast and collections and then we have what we refer to as structural shortfalls which results from expenditure growth routinely outpacing revenue growth,” explained Duenas.

 In other words short-term shortfalls happen when you estimate that you will receive more money than you actually receive. Gov Guam comes up with a number a revenue projection then builds a budget based on that number. If they don’t meet that number there’s a shortfall. Structural Shortfalls are more systemic they happen year after year because a particular Gov Guam expense goes unfunded year after year. So while this all may be a bit confusing Duenas says the Bottom line is that some of the numbers are simply inaccurate. For example, the shortfall for bureau of prisons payments was estimated at $9.2 million but Duenas says it’s actually $1.2 million. As for health insurance increases instead of $20 million Duenas says it’s $15 million. Then there are expenses that aren’t owed yet for example the merit award was estimated at $1.5 million but Duenas says this is not due in 2011. Duenas says the actual budgetary shortfall for FY 2011 is $20-$40 million dollars. “My summary is that only probably between $30 and $40 million of that or 1/3rd of that 96 is immediately due and will be due in the course of fiscal year 2011,” said Duenas adding that “these are not new challenges they have been long-standing structural challenges that continue to shadow us from year to year and the proof of the pudding as they says is in your ability to discipline and balance your resources and put in proper piles you know this is due today and this is due tomorrow and it’s always it’s a constant juggling act so to speak.”

 Duenas adds that out of her projected $30-$40 million dollar shortfall $27 million stems from the increases in health insurance and the court ordered payments for the permanent injunction.