Senator seeks more information for upcoming FY 2021 budget session

Speaker Therese Terlaje (PNC file photo)

Senator Therese Terlaje is continuing to seek more financial information from the administration in order to prepare for the upcoming FY2021 budget session.

In a letter to Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, the appropriations chairman, Terlaje followed up her earlier letter asking for additional financial information.

When she met the Office of Budget and Finance last week to review OFB’s revenue projections and proposed agency appropriations, Terlaje said the estimated general revenue projections for FY 2021 were $775,628,968 which coincidently mirrored the adopted revenues for FY 2019, and special fund revenue projections for FY 2021 were $216,750,434.

“It was my understanding that the administration’s FY 2021 revenue projections were much higher than OFB’s projections. I was told by OFB that the administration would be sharing more up-to-date information regarding July 2020 revenue collections on Friday last week and that this information would inform your final revenue projections for the FY
2021 budget. Have the July 2020 revenues been shared with OFB and can Senators have a copy of this information? How has this information impacted the initial FY 2021 budget estimates presented to the senators last week?” the senator asked.

According to Terlaje, this information will ultimately impact OFB’s proposed agency appropriations provided to senators last week which showed agency budgets reduced by approximately 4.8% from FY 2020 levels across the board.

“I am concerned that session has been called for Monday, yet we have not received adjusted revenues or agency appropriations. Based on the information provided to our office, OFB’s FY 2021 revenue projections were estimating a $59 million reduction from FY 2020 adopted levels, and the administration’s FY 2021 revenue projections were estimating a $38.6 M reduction from FY 2020 adopted levels. I have also asked the administration
and OFB numerous times for the formula used to estimate FY 2020 revenues and FY 2021 revenues so that we can have a complete understanding of how the current economic downturn, tourism industry forecasts, and infusion of CARES Act funds were factored into the revenue projections. It is important that our revenue projections are grounded in formulas that the body can have confidence in,” the senator said.

According to Terlaje, there were other items requested prior that are needed for the most accurate assessment and understanding of the government’s finances. She has asked that the Office of Budget and Finance continue its efforts to provide the following information as soon as possible:

• OFB independent estimates regarding FY 2020 revenue projections, lapses, and budget shortfalls as a result of the impacts of the current pandemic on the economy,
• Updated FY 2021 revenue estimates and the formulas used to project FY 2020 and FY 2021 revenues,
• Any revenue enhancement strategies being recommended by the Special Economic Service,
• Total FY 2019 revenues in excess of the adopted levels and any deficits paid by the administration with FY 19 excess revenues, and
• Monthly expenditure reports from the administration of COVID-19 expenditures, pursuant to P.L. 35-86.