Guam- According to the Office of Public Accountability (OPA), the Government of Guam has a habit of overspending.
At this week’s Rotary Club of Northern Guam meeting, Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks told members for the last 10 years, GovGuam has spent more than what it was taking in. She mentions that even when a $271 million dollar deficit bond was taken out to pay for Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) and Income Tax refunds in Fiscal Year 2009, it didn’t do much to reduce overspending.
“Back in 1998, just before this area, at that time, we only owed $76 million in tax refunds. And then in 2002, 4 years later, that number doubled to $147 million” said Brooks. “And in 2006, it jumped to $267 million and now as of 2009, it was $253 million. Again, that’s after paying more than $100 million in tax refunds from that $271 million dollar deficit bond.”
Brooks also says because of the worldwide recession, other states are following Guam’s trend in holding tax refunds. For example, Hawaii recently held tax refunds for 3 months. On average, the Public Auditor states Guam’s tax refunds are held for 3 years.
She adds the overall solution to GovGuam’s habitual overspending problem is simple: the government needs to stop overestimating its revenues and underestimating its expenses.