Senator Mike San Nicolas has introduced the first piece of legislation for 2016 which if passed and signed into law would ensure that any additional revenue GovGuam receives is spent on tax refunds and vendor payments.
The Senator says that over $21 million is owed to GMH vendors over $6 million is owed to DOE vendors and there are still outstanding balances due to the GovGuam retirement fund and “many other vendors”.
Senator San Nicolas says that in the past they have seen revenues come in that were supposed to be deposited in the income tax refunds trust account but they weren’t deposited.
“We wanna make sure that any additional revenue not just what’s supposed to go into that account but anything else that’s coming into any other special fund or into the general fund is specifically earmarked for that purpose,” said San Nicolas.
The Senator says that bill 228 also prevents other senators from introducing bills that spend this additional money on pet projects until tax refunds and vendors are paid. “It tells all the other senators that you cannot introduce any other appropriations bills unless it’s to pay tax refunds or to pay our vendors that way we clear that priority as the primary hurdle for our government to get to,” said San Nicolas adding, “We don’t want senators coming out saying hey we have extra money for this and extra money for that. There is no extra money until tax refunds are paid within 30 days and vendors are paid within 30 days.”
Senator San Nicolas points out that last fiscal year tax refund filers who filed up to February 11 did not receive their refunds until may while most who filed on time but after February 11 had to wait until the last week of September. Meanwhile the senator says that income tax refunds in states get paid in a month or less while the Guam tax filers have to wait anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
The Senator also points out that the Calvo administration continues to challenge the court order to pay refunds in 6 months. In fact they recently appealed the U.S. District Court decision to the U.S. Supreme court in December.