Increase in candidate filing fees opposed

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Maria Pangelinan, GEC executive director, said the GEC board was trying to figure out a funding source for the Guam Election Commission.

During a hearing at the Legislature on Tuesday, senators expressed strong opposition to the recommendations made by the Guam Election Commission for huge increases in the filing fees for public office.

Bill 246-35 already proposes modest increases in the filing fees for candidates running for governor, delegate or the legislature.

For example, it would boost the fee for legislative candidates to $500 from $100 now.

However, the GEC has recommended raising the filing fee for senatorial candidates up to $5,000.

Republican senator Mary Torres said: “What would make that the number that you recommend, because its astronomical, its nearly 10 percent of the salary of the office, which is just, in my estimate, absurd.”

Maria Pangelinan, GEC executive director, said the GEC board was trying to figure out a funding source for the Guam Election Commission.

“And again, I must reiterate that this was just a recommendation. And this was arrived at during a meeting of the Guam Election Commission Board,” Pangelinan said.

Ken Leon Guerrero, of Guam Citizens for Public Accountability, was also critical of what the bill did not include.

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“This bill doesn’t address the real needs, it doesn’t address the flaws that we see in the system today, specifically with the situation with the mayor of Yona. It doesn’t do anything to either eliminate the primary election and let the parties hold it themselves or require the political parties to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of the election,” Leon Guerrero said.

GDOE funding bills

The finance committee also heard testimony on Bill 233-35, which seeks to allocate $2.1 million to the Guam Department of Education from last year’s unappropriated general fund balance.

And Bill 228-35 which would allocate $2.9 million for an owner’s agent engineer to supervise the reconstruction of Simon Sanchez High School.

No one testified in opposition to either funding measure.

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