Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo has called a second Special Session again today [Tuesday] to consider yet another 2012 budget.
Last Friday’s Special Session resulted in a rejection of the alternate budget submitted by the Governor after he vetoed the budget passed by the democratic majority the week before. But the democrats failed to muster the 10 votes they needed to over-ride the veto.
Lawmakers were slated to reconvene in Session today to attempt another over-ride but last night, the Governor called this second Special Session and submitted yet another budget.
READ the Governor’s letter to Speaker Won Pat requesting the Special Session
The sticking point has been over the choice between the Governor’s proposed $343 million dollar tax refund bond and the Legislature’s counter offer of a $180 million dollar refund bond. The budget submitted during the 1st Special Session last Friday included the Governor’s $343 million version, the one he submitted for consideration today does not.
Instead, this latest version of the Governor’s budget contains language that would authorize the issuance of “two or more bonds not to exceed an aggregate value of 343M.” It would be the same bond, but issued in phases.
READ the Governor’s latest budget proposal
Another change in this proposed budget is that last Friday’s version included language that would have allowed any proceeds left over from the bond to be used to pay the premiums for the 3rd and 4th quarters of the GovGuam Calvo SelectCare health insurance plan. The version under consideration today merely refers to paying the 2012 insurance premiums.
In addition, a third change in this latest budget under consideration today is that it would authorized the payment of COLA as well as tax refunds.
READ the Governor’s release on thise second Special Session in FULL below:
Impasse Forces New Bill; Calvo Calls Senators into Session; New budget & bond bill addresses some Democrats’ concerns
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2011
Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D. tonight received a compromise budget and bond bill that pays all past-due tax refunds, but in a way the Governor hopes is amenable to some Democrats. The Governor has called the legislature into Special Session at 8 a.m. tomorrow to consider the new bill.
To compromise, the Governor left the legislature’s version of the budget virtually intact, except for the devastating lockbox provision. The new proposal calls for an immediate authorization of $239 million on the bond market. The proceeds include $187 million for tax refunds and $20 million for the remainder of the COLA debt.
The payment of past-due tax refunds, however, will NOT be compromised. The new bill includes a second bond series authorization. Under this bill, the Governor will be able to go back to the bond market in January 2012 to pay off the remainder of the past-due refunds, and a portion of the Tax Year 2011 refunds. This will mean the government will have actual cash in the tax refunds account for the first time in 20 years.
“I said I would not compromise on paying people what they are owed, and I am sticking to that commitment,” Governor Calvo said. “I do understand the concerns Vice Speaker Cruz has brought up, and I am willing to compromise on the timing of the entire bond package. We’ll get most of the refunds before Christmas to the people, and the remainder will be ready in time for tax filing season. This is not a perfect plan. I would much rather pay the people everything as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the legislative leadership’s reluctance to pay these refunds all at once puts us at risk of a government shutdown. I don’t want to see a shutdown.”
The Governor does welcome any move to restore the full bond amount and pay all the refunds at once. If there are eight votes to do this, then that would be the best option.