Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo has called the Legislature into Special Session this afternoon at 1pm [Friday] to consider his revised budget proposal.
Last night the Governor vetoed the substituted budget proposal passed by lawmakers Tuesday. In his veto message the Governor said ““We can’t promise to spend money we don’t have.”
Today the Governor submitted a revised proposal to the Legislature which he calls “prudent, responsible, and capable of delivering upon the promises contained within.“
In his letter to Speaker Won Pat calling for the Special Session, the Governor said he revised his spending proposal “in the spirit of compromise” and this new bill is built around “the appropriated levels contained in Sen. Pangelinan’s first substitute version” of the Governor’s original FY2014 spending plan.
Among the highlights of the new budget proposed by the Governor:
* the Provision for Tax Refunds is $113 million
* $8.4 million for the Hay Plan raises for both the classified and unclassified employees
* COLA for retirees increases from $1,100 per retiree to $1,500 per retiree.
READ the Governor’s letter to Speaker Won Pat calling for the Special Session:
Honorable Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D.
I Mina Trentai-dos na Liheslaturan Guahan
155 Hesler Place
Hagatna, Guam 96932
Dear Madam Speaker,
I am calling the Legislature into special session at 1 p.m. today, pursuant to the authority vested in me by §1423h of the Organic Act of Guam. The sole purpose of the special session is for the Legislature to consider the attached bill, which budgets the revenues, appropriations, and provision for tax refunds in Fiscal Year 2014. The bill presents a budget that is prudent, responsible, and capable of delivering upon the promises contained within.
In the spirit of compromise and cooperation, I instructed the Bureau of Budget and Management Research to construct the budget around the appropriated levels contained in Sen. Pangelinan’s first substitute version of the FY2014 budget bill. This was the version senators were given time to review and debate on. In fact, so much time was afforded to the senators on this version that when a recess was requested by minority senators for further review, the motion was defeated. The following highlight the main differences between that substitute version and the one attached:
1. The revenue levels are as follows:
a. General Fund revenues available for appropriation: $598,087,815
b. Income taxes (net of refunds): $299,125,244
c. Business Privilege Taxes: $226,145,462
d. Federal sources: $65,136,872
e. Use of money & property: $1,627,655
f. Licenses, fees, & service: $4,240,066
g. Department charges: $1,812,516
2. The Provision for Tax Refunds is $113 million
3. The appropriation for the Hay Plan raises is $8.4 million. This appropriation authorizes the administration to implement the plan for both the classified and unclassified services to this level. It also authorizes the administration to implement the plan further should cash sources become available. Sen. Muna Barnes, who has been a staunch advocate of the mayors, has been working to ensure the mayors and their staff are included in the pay adjustments. This follows calls by Republican senators to ensure the Hay Plan is applied to everyone qualified, and not just one class of employees.
4. The appropriation for the annual Cost of Living Allowances increases from $1,100 per retiree to $1,500 per retiree. We made adjustments upward at the behest of Minority Leader Sen. Tony Ada and Sen. Duenas.
5. We increase the appropriation to the Department of Education to $219.3 million. This is part of our commitment to improving learning, and a direct response to DOE’s needs and the advocacy of Speaker Won Pat and Senator Yamashita.
6. We restore operational funding to the health agencies so they have adequate resources, and we included funding for critical programs:
a. An additional $3.6 million for Medicaid. This is for a local match to avail the program of further federal funding. This is the funding Sen. Rodriguez has championed for those in need of medical attention through this program.
b. An additional $500,000 to the Division of Senior Citizens for the hot meals program. This will enable the contractor to deliver hot meals to senior citizens in this program on Saturday, adding to the current Monday to Friday schedule. This helps to close the gap in services to these senior citizens in need. I have long worried that the lack of food services to them on the weekends meant they may have nothing to eat between Friday and Monday. Thankfully, the Republican senators and Sen. Rodriguez advocated for this funding along with me.
c. An additional $468,088 to Adult Protective Services to provide service to 151 senior citizens now on a waiting list for inpatient services. Sen. Yamashita championed this funding.
d. An additional $2 million to the Department of Public Health and Social Services foster care program.
7. We restore operational funding to the public safety agencies so they have the needed additional resources. This includes $800,000 in funding to Guam Police Department for the hiring of more police officers. I don’t need to remind the Legislature of the importance of giving the public safety agencies the resources to fight crime and keep us safe. I thank Sen. McCreadie for working with us to bring the funding levels up.
8. We include the funding from the Tourist Attraction Fund that Sen. Limtiaco has been advocating to market the bed and breakfast industry.
9. We include the funding from the Tourist Attraction Fund that Sen. Morrison has been advocating for improvements in southern villages, and for funding for cultural improvements.
10. We include the doubling of the Veterans Affairs Office budget. Sens. Tony & Tom Ada have been champions of veterans issues, and we thank them for fighting for this increase.
I look forward to your favorable consideration of my budget request. I ask you to look upon this proposal with open minds, eyes focused on reason and logic, and hearts set upon the most vulnerable in our community.
EDDIE BAZA CALVO