While neither confirming nor denying the possibility of a budget veto soon, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero says she will work with the legislature on a budget that the government can work with
The legislature voted to pass Bill 282-35 — the fiscal year 2021 budget bill — less than two hours before the August 31 midnight deadline mandated by law.
The body approved a $950.78 million budget, which is less than what was proposed in the executive budget request. The current version also decreased the governor’s transfer authority — from 30 to 15 percent.
The governor’s team is currently reviewing the amended budget proposal and in an interview with Patti Arroyo on K57, the governor said her fiscal team noted several flaws in the bill. She specifically mentioned Public Health’s decreased appropriation which she says could impact critical programs and services.
Public Health’s budget was slashed by at least $3 million.
“I can’t hire eligibility specialists with this public health budget that was passed which slashed the operation side of the budget by 29 percent. I need to figure out how to do that. I need to figure out how I can help public health correct the deficiency so we don’t lose our food stamp,” Leon Guerrero said.
She added: “I am not going to veto just to veto — if I veto — of course I am going to work with the legislature to have a budget that everybody can work with.”
By many indications, however, the governor will most likely veto the budget bill because it falls far short of what she wanted.
The governor has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to act on the measure.