Concerns aired over ‘rushed’ budget process

Senator Telo Taitague (PNC file photo)

At least one Republican senator has expressed concerns over the conduct of the current budget session.

Sen. Telo Taitague, the minority whip, told the Patti Arroyo show on NewsTalk K57 that the Democrat-controlled 35th Guam Legislature seems to be rushing the budget process because of the looming deadline to pass a budget by Saturday.

Taitague said she doesn’t agree that there is no need to call the line agencies anymore because they already support the budget.

She said it’s the job of the Legislature to do due diligence, scrutinize the budget carefully and ask individual agencies where they can save money, or, if there are shortfalls, find ways to cover them.

“They’re saying it’s under control but it’s been a week already, and we’re only on the beginning pages. We’ll start on page 10 today with the Guam Department of Education budget,” Taitague said.

Earlier, the Republican caucus vowed to scrutinize every item in the budget even though the deadline to submit a budget is pressing near.

Sen. Wil Castro, the minority leader, said the GOP senators are committed to going through every line.

The Republican minority caucus also issued a statement expressing concern that there may not be enough time to hold complete and transparent discussions on a $945 million budget.

With the cost containment measures that will be in effect should the budget bill pass as written, Taitague said the amount of time remaining may not provide for a thorough, robust discussion.

By law, there must be an approved budget by Aug. 31 each year.