San Agustin: Budget bill will pass on time

Sen. Joe S. San Agustin (PNC file photo)

Senator Joe S. San Agustin has assured that he and his colleagues will do what is necessary to pass the fiscal 2020 budget on time and the bill will hit the session floor imminently.

San Agustin, who chairs the Legislature’s appropriation committee, said he and his fellow senators will work nonstop “to meet in the middle” on Bill 186-35, the fiscal year 2020 budget bill.

“I am very optimistic that my colleagues and I will pass this budget on time with bipartisan support. If it takes being in session until 10 p.m. (latest allowed by our standing rules) every day right up until the deadline, we’ll get it done, because that’s what our people elected us to do,” San Agustin said.

Bureau of Budget and Management Research head Lester Carlson told the Patti Arroyo show on NewsTalk K57 that the amended budget bill doesn’t have much discrepancy with the budget that the governor proposed.

Carlson said they can live with the budget that the Legislature is proposing although he couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the senators by saying that for a number of senators, this was their first time working on a budget.

Earlier, the Republican minority in the Legislature 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.

San Agustin said he looks forward to working with his colleagues to get amended Bill 186-35 passed on time and before Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for her signature.