Guam – Senator Chris Duenas has introduced bill 187 which would use $9 million of the $15 million dollar windfall of Section 30 money to pay out tax refunds however, Senator Ben Pangelinan says that the government has enough money to pay out all tax refunds so he’s instead proposing that this $15 million be used to pay out tax rebates on top of tax refunds.
Senator Chris Duenas has introduced bill 187 which uses $9 million dollars out of GovGuam’s $15 million dollar windfall of section 30 money to pay out tax refunds. “I’d like to see this bill get heard I understand there is a session coming up on Monday I haven’t seen the rules meeting yet scheduled but in that case I don’t see any reason why if we had a public hearing on this we couldn’t have that in this session. You know there’s cash in the bank so there’s no reason why we couldn’t get those refunds out this month,” said the Republican lawmaker. Senator Duenas confirms that the $9 million would be used during this current fiscal year and not the upcoming 2014 fiscal year. This is something that Democrat Senator Rory Respicio has questioned considering that the Governor has said that there is a surplus for this fiscal year. “If there’s supposed to be a surplus for this fiscal year what is the extra cash needed for to pay out tax refunds?” asked PNC. “Well, like I said you could battle back and forth in terms of what’s in what fiscal year I think what’s important is and this is where I think where you see a lot of times from the Governor’s office and from this Republican minority we constantly talk about cash. You know what’s cash in the bank we could say that we’re closing the fiscal year and this is how it’s tracking and this is what is gonna end up being in terms of when they close the books and DOA gives a report of how the fiscal year went, but if you have cash in the bank you spend out what you have in cash,” said Senator Duenas adding, “but if we have cash in the bank we need to give it to the people when we have that cash in the bank I think that’s more important than anything else.”
This is exactly what Senator Ben Pangelinan is proposing but he’s proposing giving out tax rebates because he says that GovGuam has enough money to pay out all tax refunds and can now begin paying out tax rebates on top of the refunds. The senator issued a statement to PNC saying: “The Guam legislature has already provided, as the Governor has mentioned, more than enough money for income tax refunds.” He goes on to state that he believes the “unanticipated” section 30 funds of $15.45 million should be spent on a tax rebate program for Guam taxpayers. He also says, “With this financial windfall, it should now go to the private sector workers and all taxpayers with the payment of a tax rebate, instead of increasing government operating costs.” Senator Pangelinan is also proposing using this money for the hospital or a combination of both tax rebates and funding for the hospital.
“I haven’t seen a bill those concepts are very interesting. I think what’s important is that we’ve introduced legislation. My colleagues have also introduced legislation for public safety and for education and so I think we should be cooperative with one another and hear the bills that are before us and perhaps in the future if there’s money for those types of programs do it but for right now this is cash in the bank and I want to thank my colleagues for introducing legislation to get money into the people’s hands as soon as possible.”
Senator Respicio sent PNC a statement saying that Senator Duenas’ bill and the other bills introduced by Republicans to authorize spending of the $15 million dollar windfall have been referred to Senator Ben Pangelinan’s appropriation’s committee but with reservations because the legislature’s legal counsel has deemed all of them technically deficient because although they are based on 2014 section 30 tax revenues they don’t amend the FY14 revenue estimates in the recently enacted 2014 budget law.