Speaker Cruz addresses Calvo’s claims about Bill 323

Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz (file photo)

Guam – In response to the Maga’låhi, Speaker BJ Cruz writes a letter to his colleagues that both dispels the Governor’s claims about their approved budget bill and thanks his fellow senators for their devotion to service in such a heated political season.

Governor Calvo is letting the Legislature’s Budget Bill 323 lapse into law, albeit very reluctantly. Throughout his team’s review process, the Governor’s Office continued to send out statements detailing their perceived flaws in the budget packet.

In a letter to his colleagues, Speaker BJ expresses his gratitude to his fellow lawmakers for their perseverance in the process and then sets out to address each of Calvo’s five “petty vendettas.”

First, regarding GMH, Cruz says giving the Governor full authority over the Pharmaceutical Fund was “prudent planning,” not what Calvo suggests was an unintentional oversight. Second, the Speaker says the Legislature’s alleged cuts to Medicaid and MIP were in agreement with the exact funding levels outlined in calvo’s Executive Budget Request Option 1. Likewise, their overstated $78 million dollars in Section 30 funds was based on the administration’s projected estimate of the fund and their request to DOI. Fourth, Cruz says that Calvo’s issues with revenue enhancements are unfounded and that the bill’s language is clear on enacting the proposed RPT and Tobacco tax hikes immediately. Lastly, the freeze on hiring and scheduled raises would only be in effect for the first quarter of the fiscal year so as to prevent what the Senator calls the “political hiring” the current administration is known for.

Speaker BJ Cruz says Adelup’s reaction to the FY19’s budget was not a matter of policy, but of politics. He assures his colleagues: “Where fixes are needed, this Body can and will fix them.”