Guam – The Speaker’s Weekly Address today [Wednesday] was a reading of the letter she and the 7 other democratic Senators sent to the Governor on Monday.
The letter is from the 8 democrats who voted for the budget last Friday and it is an appeal to the Governor to sign the budget bill.
She concludes by saying she believes the budget represents a compromise that demonstrates good faith at meeting the Governor half way.
READ Speaker Won Pat’s Address in FULL below or HEAR it by clicking HERE>>>speaker address 8-31.mp3
Hafa Adai. We, the members of the Legislative majority that voted in favor of the FY2012 GovGuam budget, are writing to explain in greater detail our reasoning behind the elements of Substitute Bill No. 145-31. Hopefully, this letter will serve to increase communication between our branches of government, and lead to a more constructive dialog about the size that our budget must be, in order to adequately serve our people.
The Hurricane Irene disaster, playing out along the United States east coast as we write this, serves as an excellent place to begin. Early estimates for emergency mitigation and restoration for the east coast are already in the BILLIONS of dollars from this enormous event. We have all experienced the important and often life-saving role that the Federal Emergency Management Agency plays in disaster recovery; and yet there are serious proposals before Congress to cut the Department of Homeland Security (of which FEMA is a part) by over $20 BILLION in ten years.
The Congressionally appointed Committee of 12 have the epic task of cutting $1.5 TRILLION in spending from the federal budget over 10 years. If this “super committee’’ cannot send a plan to Congress by the end of November, Congress must agree on a cutting plan, and might even consider Senator Tom Coburn’s “Back in Black” plan that calls for $9.03 TRILLION in cuts in 10 years. If Congress can’t agree, then $1.2 TRILLION in automatic, across-the-board cuts will be made. One of these three scenarios will play out before the end of this year.
It will not be just the proposed Guam buildup cuts that will affect us — every element and program in the federal government is on the cutting list. Even Medicare and Social Security will not be spared. Cuts will take place in every agency that provides funds for Guam, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health & Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing & Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
The budget now on your desk includes over $50 Million in federal funds that we hope to receive, and this is NOT inclusive of all of the federal assistance that we are expecting. No one should be confident that all of those requested (and promised) federal funds will arrive, and we commend our Republican colleagues who resisted pressure to increase our debt in these uncertain times. By not presenting amendments to Substitute Bill No. 145-30’s bond borrowing provisions, they have left our government with the ability to float a bond without having to raise the debt ceiling, and limiting our exposure to what is happening on a national level Governor, we all know that there are times to be political and times to be prudent, and we believe that this is a time to beprudent. The budget bill we have sent to you plots a careful path down the middle of the road, without stretching our borrowing to the limit, and without over-indebting our people and future generations. We will still pay most tax refunds immediately; we will establish a means to pay future returns from future revenues without additional borrowing; and we will infuse needed cash and economic activity into our local economy.
We believe this borrowing plan is a sound one, especially in light of actions already in progress in our nation’s capitol. We hope that the conservative budget and sensible bond borrowing plan on your desk will receive your full attention and consideration. We are requesting that you sign this budget bill immediately, so you can begin the process of paying our people their past due tax refunds.
Governor, you asked us to compromise and we believe that we have. The original substitute budget bill had no bond borrowing, while Substitute Bill No. 145-31, which was further amended by the Committee of the Whole, includes a $180 Million bond borrowing authorization. We remain hopeful that you believe our actions clearly demonstrate a sincere, good faith attempt at meeting you half way. Si Yu’os ma’åse’.