Guam – In a speech to the Rotary Club of Guam Thursday Governor Calvo announced that tax refunds would be issued again, but his speech focused on the government’s financial situation saying that he is not exaggerating the $116 million dollar cash shortfall that his financial team is predicting. However budget chair Senator Ben Pangelinan remains unconvinced that the shortfall is as great as Calvo says it is.
Governor Eddie Calvo threw away his script saying he would rather speak from the heart before a captivated rotary club of Guam audience. “There’s another public servant that mentioned a little earlier in the media that I was exaggerating the issues that are affecting the financial affairs of this government,” said Calvo adding, “There is no exaggeration we have some major issues affecting this island.”
Governor Calvo says that as a senator he asked for information on the government’s cash position and now that he is governor he is privy to the true financial condition of GovGuam. “Now that I’m in there that information is apparent and it is a revelation and we know how much is in the bank we know how much we can anticipate coming in and we know the obligations that are ahead of this government,” said Calvo adding, “Anyone who thinks lightly in the precarious financial position of this government they gotta start getting a reality check we’re in a difficult position.”
Although Calvo maintains that the financial outlook is bleak, yesterday Senator Pangelinan told PNC that the November and December collections were good. In fact today he says they are even better than anticipated. “Now unofficially we just might finish the first quarter $300 thousand dollars above budgeted and projected revenues,” said Pangelinan.
So where is the $116 million dollar shortfall? Well, according to Calvo’s press release the shortfall is from unprogrammed or unbudgeted liabilities. Senator Pangelinan says he is only aware of two major unbudgeted liabilities. $12 million for the permanent injunction and $13 million for the Calvo’s Selectcare health insurance plan for GovGuam. “So that brings you up to $25 million that will be unbudgeted for the entire fiscal year and there may be a couple of others out there that I’m not sure what they are but I think the governor and his financial team needs to put those details on the table,” said Pangelinan adding, “You can’t just preach transparency you’ve gotta practice transparency and if the governor’s saying it’s $116 account for that be transparent about where that’s gonna occur.”
During the rotary club meeting PNC asked the governor what the other unprogrammed liabilities where and how they arrived at the $116 million dollar figure. His chief fiscal advisor Bernie Artero responded. “We weren’t necessarily indicating unbudgeted liabilities we were showing liabilities that were not programmed into the cash flow some of those may have been budgeted but not programmed into our model that included the mental health, there’s a whole list of that and that totalled a $124 million I can give you a list,” said Artero.
However as of news time PNC was not provided with the listing of unprogrammed liabilities nor an explanation of the projected $116 million dollar cash shortfall.