DOI letter does not support Adelup’s claims that Section 30 is short

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Guam – While Adelup mulls the legality of the recently passed fiscal 2019 budget bill over a clerical error, another issue that could have the bill rejected is section 30 revenue the Interior says is allotted for Guam.

According to Adelup, Guam is only getting $68 million, not the $78 million budgeted for in bill 323.

In a release, the governor’s office says it received a letter from the Department of Interior informing them that the amount to be remitted will only be $68 million, adding that this amount is based on “information submitted to them from the democratic leadership.”

However, PNC obtained a copy of the letter from the Interior to the governor dated August 14, and nowhere does it state that Guam will only be receiving $68 million in FY19. It also does not mention Guam’s democratic leadership as the culprit behind the reduced amount, or any other number.

In fact, the Interior points out that the governor petitioned for an exaggerated amount of $120 million. But this calculation is off, according to DOI.

Before we get to why it’s off, first we’ll explain what the calculation it’s based on.

Because Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s War Claims Act taps into Section 30 money, the law now requires a threshold to be set so that any funds collected above the threshold will be used for War Claims. That threshold is based on Section 30 funds collected in 2014.

Governor Calvo believes $120 million in section 30 funds were collected in 2014 so the threshold should be $120 million. Wrong, says DOI.

Actually, that $120 million figure includes $1.1 million from 2012, $7.8 million collected between 1988 to 2011, $30 million collected from 1977 to 2011 and finally $80.7 million which was not even collected during 2014 at all, rather it was remitted in 2014 as an advance payment for 2015.

So what was collected during 2014? $68 million, according to the Department of the Interior.

As we pointed out, despite Adelup’s claims that Guam will only receive $68 million in FY19 Section 30 funds, the letter from DOI does not actually specify how much Guam will receive for 2019 but rather what the threshold is for 2014.

In fact, Congresswoman Bordallo’s office says the threshold may materially change as the Treasury will still need to reconcile the last two to three fiscal years.

Section 30 money is funds remitted to the Guam government from the taxes of federal employees who live on Guam.