Republican Senator James Moylan has explained why he voted “no” on the budget bill, saying there were many concerns that he had not only with the legislation but the whole process in general.
Moylan stressed that addressing a nearly one billion dollar budget should never be addressed in just six working days. He said the budget is a tedious process that should take at least 30 days to work through, and considering that this is one of the key responsibilities of the Guam Legislature, it is unfair to island residents that the effort was rushed.
According to the senator, not having agency heads during the process makes it even more challenging for lawmakers to attain the key information or address the critical questions that they may need or have.
“I would like to thank both Mr. Lester Carlson of BBMR and Mr. Ed Birn of DOA for their presence, but we certainly needed other officials to make the process more efficient,” the senator said.
Moylan said it was disappointing that every amendment that he introduced, most of which were cost-cutting measures, failed.
“Several were essentially dead on arrival. It seemed as if spending on needs versus wants was not a priority. While the budget bill passed with several needs, it also has a number of wants which taxpayers should be concerned about,” Moylan said.
Moylan said the call to action to reduce government spending continues to fall on deaf ears and reasonable amendments to transfer the budget of executive security from GPD to Adelup, or reduce the per diems provided to elected and appointed officials when they travel, continue to be ignored.
In addition, Moylan said public safety was not prioritized, and considering the current state of crime on island, this was disappointing. Moylan was also distressed that his amendment to fund an existing mandate, which is the Municipal Police Division, was defeated. He said a community-based policing program would have beefed up police presence within the villages.
More importantly, Moylan said his efforts to roll back the Business Privilege Tax (BPT) was defeated on two occasions. While it was understood that the tax reduction would require a financial offset option, Moylan said what was even more disappointing was that the opportunity to work through the budget bill and work on cost cuts and revenue enhancers to get the balance was never afforded.
“Our island community’s concerns are gravely warranted, and I have accepted that the approval of the budget bill represents the sanctity of our legislative process. As a concerned resident, I assure you that I remain committed to work with my colleagues as a steward of real fiscal discipline, and to bring about the change that our island community has been promised over a year ago,” Moylan said.