Senator James Moylan has introduced the first four of several bills he says would focus on cost-cutting and revenue-enhancing measures.
Bill 189-35 would prohibit the funding of the position of “Deputy Director” from a department’s budget. Contrary to a measure passed in 2018, which was deemed to be inorganic by the Office of the Attorney General at the time, this legislation does not exclude any governor from hiring a Deputy Director. Rather, the legislation requires such funding to come from the budget of the Office of the Governor, if the executive branch feels that such a position is needed for their governance objectives.
According to Moylan, the legislation would only impact the 25 departments deemed as “line agencies” of the executive branch, pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 3, Title 5, Guam Code Annotated, and would provide substantial savings for the General Fund.
Bill 190-35 would prohibit the Guam Police Department from utilizing the monies from their budget to fund executive security for the executive branch. Once again, the legislation will not prevent the hiring of executive security, and if the Office of the Governor feels there is a pertinent need for those services, then it can be expended from their appropriated budget. The legislation’s prohibition extends to other aspects of executive security, including overtime, resources and travel.
Moylan said the legislation could either be a cost-savings measure for the general fund, or GPD can utilize the savings to hire additional police officers to address the rising crime concerns on the island. The monies can also be used to support the existing force, but either way, a significant aspect is addressed.
Bill 191-35 would eliminate the Guam liaison offices, specifically the one currently located in Washington D.C. If any governor feels that such an office is needed for their governance objectives, Moylan said such a position can be created and funded from the budget appropriated to the Office of the Governor. The legislation would merely repeal the mandate of that office, along with its duties from the Guam Code Annotated.
Bill 192-35 would restrict government funding from being spent on wireless communications, specifically cellular telephones, cellular telephone services, and other wireless services, with exemptions included for specific public safety and public health positions, and for those services expended from federal funds.
According to Mylan, the objectives of the legislation have existed over previous budget laws, however, his measure would eliminate positions such as the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker and other positions from attaining such benefits. While the savings element from the bill may be constituted as being minimal at best, Moylan said the statement it makes in terms of establishing fiscally responsible policies for the government is monumental.
“I am committed to reducing the BPT for FY 2020, since it is a regressive tax that impacts working families, however in order to mitigate any government funding shortfalls, elected officials must be ready to take the tough steps in not only recognizing cost-cutting measures but also identifying new revenue sources,” stated Senator Moylan. “This is just the start, as we are working on other measures to address both, and since the budget process is ongoing, the timing of introducing such legislation is ideal. I also hope to attain the support of my colleagues in the process, as some of these recommendations are not new, and have either been agreed on or supported in the past,” he added.