Guam – Appropriations Committee Chair Senator Ben Pangelinan says he has sent a letter to Governor Calvo “demanding” that the Governor pay out more tax refunds because there is now $13 million dollars available from the Additional Child Tax Credit reimbursements from the U.S. Treasury.
In a release Wednesday, the Senator says that GovGuam got the additional federal funds almost two weeks ago.
The release quotes the Senator as saying “The reimbursement can only be used to pay refunds as passed in law by the Legislature, so holding back on paying refunds does nothing but hurt our people.”
On Monday, the Senator also called on the Governor to implement pay increases for GovGuam employees saying that the freeze imposed on the salary increases when Governor Calvo took office has resulted in “absolutely no savings.” Pangelinan cited BBMR’s own projected personnel costs for FY12 “which was at about $112 million” while the budgeted amount is $121M thus, he argued, $9 million is available and “increments can be paid … and lack of money is not a reason for the freeze.”
DOA Director Benita Manglona has repeatedly pointed out that while collections have increased, GovGuam has been forced to pay down more than $360 million dollars in debt from prior years and there is still not enough available to put aside funds for next year’s tax refunds.
On Monday, in his most recent response to Senator Pangelinan, Governor Calvo called the Appropriations Committee Chair “the architect of the deficit” accusing Pangilian of responsibility for the bad budgets approved by the Senator’s committee in recent years which have appropriated excessive amounts based on exaggerated revenues.
READ Senator Pangelinan’s release in FULL below:
PANGELINAN ANNOUNCES OVER $13 MILLION CASH AVAILABLE FOR REFUNDS; DEMANDS GOVERNOR PAY THEM NOW
FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (August 15, 2012– Hagåtña) – Senator Vicente (ben) Cabrera Pangelinan, D-Barrigada, sent a letter to Governor Edward J. B. Calvo, demanding that he pay out the over $13 million the government of Guam received in Additional Child Tax Credit reimbursements from the US Treasury. The government received these funds almost two weeks ago. According to the Director of the Department of Administration, only $400,000 in refunds is being paid out per week because to pay more would force layoffs of government of Guam workers..
“The reimbursement can only be used to pay refunds as passed in law by the Legislature, so holding back on paying refunds does nothing but hurt our people,” stated Pangelinan
When asked about withholding the tax refund money Pangelinan said, “The pattern of behavior by the Administration to mislead the people is wrong and simply politics at its worst. For whatever reason, the Governor continues to hold the income tax refund money as ransom for some political agenda. Perhaps he is trying to leverage not paying refunds to pressure the Legislature to implement his unwavering assault on employees’ and retirees’ livelihoods. The media calls them cuts, but really the Governor is just kicking current financial obligations to employees and retirees down the road to a future Governor.”
Public Law 31-76 requires that “[n]o less than ninety percent (90%) of all Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) reimbursements received by the government of Guam shall be deposited directly into the Income Tax Refund Efficient payment Trust Fund…”
Pangelinan further stated that, “Especially with a cash windfall of over $13 million the government received almost two weeks ago, it baffles me why these funds have not been paid out. I hope the Governor isn’t waiting for another unnecessary piece of legislation to be introduced so that these funds can be paid out. The law is clear and the time to pay the people their refunds is now.”
“Although it is hard work to keep this Administration open and transparent, I will do the work necessary to hold them accountable and provide the checks and balance to protect the people and their interest over and above elected politicians’ personal and political interests,” concluded Senator Pangelinan.