Guam – The legislature passed Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz’s substituted version of the budget this afternoon with a vote of 13-1. The Governor says cuts in the legislative version of the FY16 budget “under funds critical agencies and programs”
Senators passed what looks like a veto proof substitute version of the FY2016 budget. The bill passed 13-1 with only one no vote coming from Senator Tony Ada and one excused absence from Senator Brant McCreadie. The legislature’s version which was largely crafted by budget Chairman Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz is more fiscally conservative than Governor Eddie Calvo’s budget request. “We need to be. We cannot leave our children our grand children and our great grand children with the responsibility of paying down all these debts. We brought the deficit down by borrowing 300 and some million dollars to pay all of the tax refunds. We cannot start running that back up again,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
On Friday the Governor asked Cruz to include some amendments that would bump budget expenditures back up. “There was no way that we could I mean we had to reduce the amount to be appropriated from his level of 702 to the 665 and the list that he sent us Friday was another 39 million that even exceeded what his original proposal was we could not include it,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
The Governor said in a release that cuts in the legislative version of the FY16 budget “under funds critical agencies and programs” and he says it de-funded some vacant positions that had already been filled. Thus the Governor asked to be allowed to have an amendment that would give him extra spending authority if revenues were meeting his projections halfway through the fiscal year. Cruz said that if revenues began tracking higher they would amend the budget to appropriate the increased revenue. “I’m very proud and honored to be working with this group of senators on both sides of the aisle because they all recognized our statutory responsibility to address the two percent deficit reduction provision and no one fought me on it,” said Cruz.
There is no word yet whether or not the Governor plans to veto the measure. However, if the 13 votes that passed the bill stick then the bill will be veto proof.