GOP senators concerned about rushing $945M budget

Republican Minority Leader Telo Taitague and Senators Louise Muna, James Moylan, and William Castro are shocked to learn that Speaker Tina Barnes cancelled the emergency session scheduled for today, March 31, 2020. This is the second time the speaker cancelled an emergency session.

The Republican minority in the Legislature has issued a statement expressing concern that there may not be enough time to hold complete and transparent discussions on a $945 million budget.

By law, there must be an approved budget by Aug. 31 each year.

Senator Wil Castro, the minority leader, said giving every page of the budget proposal the attention it warrants is going to be a challenge.

“But we are committed and ready to work with the Appropriations Chairman to ensure our government — like the rest of our people — lives within its means,” Castro said.

With the cost containment measures that will be in effect should Bill 186 pass as written, the amount of time remaining will not provide for a thorough, robust discussion, Senator and Minority Whip Telo Taitague said.

Senator James C. Moylan, the assistant minority whip, said that the reduction of the government’s cost of conducting business must also be tackled.

Senator Louise Borja Muña added that passing a balanced budget is one of the core mandates of the Legislature and to not have sufficient time to do so is an injustice to the process and truly to the people.

The Legislature is currently in session but has been tackling matters not related to the budget. There are only 11 days left to approve a budget for fiscal year 2020.