Governor pushes executive budget request

Although just one more person tested positive for COVID 19 Sunday and two more were diagnosed with the disease yesterday, the governor warned that they, in all likelihood, contracted the disease 12 to 18 days ago, and we've yet to see the full-borne symptoms blossom in those who've been infected since.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has pushed for the adoption of her executive budget request, saying that the funding proposed in Bill 186-35, introduced by the Legislature’s appropriations committee will prevent the administration from being able to hire more police officers, teachers and nurses, and” jeopardizes welfare programs for the people who need it most.”

“When my Fiscal Discipline Team and I constructed the Executive Budget Request, we did it in the best interest of our people, prioritizing the health, safety, and education of our island. We also included some provisions in our proposal that will boost our efforts of increasing tax collections. Since the start of our administration, we have made significant improvements in this area. But we must stay the course while we build momentum toward prosperity,” the governor said in her statement on the budget bill introduced by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, the appropriations chairman.

Some of the major reductions noted in Bill 186-35 compared to the governor’s executive budget request include:

• $12.2 million to the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS).
• $2.4 million to the Guam Police Department.
• $2 million to the Department of Revenue and Taxation (DRT) for the Triennial
• $750,000 to DPHSS for the Medical Marijuana Program.
• $1 million to the Department of Administration for the Pacific Islands Development
• $150,000 to DOA for the Autism Center.

Adelup says Bill 186-35 also excludes a provision to restore the Rainy Day Fund, create an Inmate Commissary at the Department of Corrections, establish a Civilian Volunteer Territorial Park Patrol Office Reserve at the Department of Parks and Recreation, and amend the Volunteer Police Reserve Allowance. It also does not include other administrative provisions to pay prior year obligations, allow the Office of the Governor to enter into procurement contracts, and give DRT flexibility to enhance tax collections.

“Despite the discrepancies in the Legislature’s budget proposal, I am confident that we can all work toward common goals and pass a budget that will prioritize fiscal discipline, maintain fiscal solvency, and ensures our government continues to work toward fiscal stabilization and economic prosperity for our island and people,” the governor said.