Governor Proposes Allowing Residents to Apply Their Tax Refunds to the GovGuam Debts They Owe

253

Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo says that his administration is finalizing plans with the Department of Revenue and Taxation to assign a portion of the tax refunds owed to island residents to the bills those residents owe to various GovGuam agencies.

The Governor says that the refund-offset plan would help pay overdue bills owed to the following GovGuam agencies:

– Guam Power Authority
– Guam Waterworks Authority
– Guam Housing Corporation
– Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority

In a release the Governor is quoted as saying “It’s just not right that the government that is withholding the tax refunds is the same government threatening to cut off power or water, or kick them out of their homes.”

He calls the plan “a temporary reprieve,” that will allow residents “to use tax refunds to repay these agencies over three months.”

Three months is the length of time that it is expected to take to float the $343 million dollar tax refund bond that the Governor wants. If it is not approved, Calvo  warns “these taxpayers may find themselves in the same situation they are in today.”

The Republican Governor and the Democrat controlled Legislature are deadlocked over the 2012 budget.

The Governor vetoed the budget passed by the Legislature last Thursday and called a Special Session Friday to consider virtually the same budget he had vetoed, except that his original $343 million dollar tax refund budget was put back into the spending plan. The Governor’s re-submitted budget was defeated, 6-7,  but an over-ride of the Governor’s veto, which needs 10 votes, failed as well, by the same margin.

Lawmakers will  reconvene again Tuesday in another effort to over-ride the Governor’s veto.

READ the Governor Release in FULL below:

Temporary Relief for Taxpayers
Governor answers senators’ call for humanitarian assistance for people struggling with bills

For Immediate Release
September 4, 2011

Residents who are in jeopardy of power or water disconnection or eviction or foreclosure from their government-leased home may soon be able to assign their tax refund to their outstanding bills.

“It’s just not right that the government that is withholding the tax refunds is the same government threatening to cut off power or water, or kick them out of their homes,” Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said. “There are all these threats about a government shutdown, but what about the real threats these struggling people are facing every day? The senators who want to keep the people’s money from them just in case the government has to deal with an emergency are ignoring the thousands of individual emergencies that our taxpayers already face every day – emergencies that this government created. Sooner or later, the legislative leadership will have to realize that the government’s day of reckoning has come.”

Republican senators suggested to the Governor that the administration do something to help people begging for their refunds so they can avoid eviction or utilities disconnection.

“These people need humanitarian relief right away,” Sen. Frank Blas, Jr. said. “How can this government penalize people for not paying their bills when the government has been withholding their money, their tax refunds? That’s not right.”

“They can’t wait for the legislature to pay the refunds. They need help now,” Sen. Tony Ada said.

The Governor’s Office is working to finalize a plan with the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The plan will allow people owed a refund to assign a portion of their tax refund to offset an overdue bill they have with a government agency, namely:
– Guam Power Authority
– Guam Waterworks Authority
– Guam Housing Corporation
– Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority

“We expect to give the taxpayers in immediate jeopardy a temporary reprieve.  We will use the tax refunds to repay these agencies over three months,” said the Governor.  “That is how long we expect it will take to put a tax refund bond in place.  If a bond isn’t floated by then, these taxpayers may find themselves in the same situation they are in today.”

“We really need to pay back the people much more than just 30 percent of what they are owed,” Sen. Chris Duenas said.

“I realize that for many, what they earn is not enough to cover their necessary expenses.  They simply want what’s rightfully theirs, which can help them care for their family, avoid delinquent payments or even threats of eviction.” Sen. Sam Mabini said.

“Wherever I go in the community, there are people who are worried because they don’t know how they’re going to survive in the coming days,” Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron said.

“We’re talking about families here. The compounded stress is wrong and unfair. We must do what is right – give the families their money,” Sen. Aline Yamashita said.