Guam – The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Frank Arriola, says he will recommend to the Governor when he returns to Guam that he sign Bill #19 as a temporary solution to the problem of funding at GMH.
The highly contested measure was passed unanimously by the Legislature Monday.
As amended, Bill #19 would tax gaming revenues and gaming machine profits to pay off the debt at GMH, and then end all forms of gaming on Guam, after that debt is paid off.
However, non-profit groups who depend on the revenues generated by legalized forms of gaming, are upset that they will lose their revenue source.
And Senators are already squabbling over the impact of the Bill they voted for, with some saying the amendments will actually authorize legalized gambling indefinitely, and not end it.
Chief of Staff Arriola said once the bill is signed, the Administration will have to go back to the legislature and ask lawmakers address the concerns of those non-profits by holding public hearings.
He stressed that the Administration remains opposed to gambling.
But Arriola also said that the Administration takes the position that the recently licensed gaming machines are legal. The Attorney General has already filed a lawsuit against the Governor and Rev & Tax. The AG maintains that they are illegal gambling devices.
The Governor will be back on island Thursday.
READ the Statement from the Governor’s Office below:
A statement from the Franklin P. Arriola, Chief of Staff to Governor Eddie Baza Calvo regarding Bill 19:
“We’ve been supportive in helping the hospital with its finances. This bill is a creative way for the hospital to receive funding to pay off its debt and enhance its services, but it is only a short-term solution to a bigger problem the hospital continuously faces. The Legislatures needs to continue a dialogue with the hospital to discuss better ways to generate revenue for future obligations.
The Calvo Tenorio administration opposes gambling.
What needs to be addressed now are the amendments made to the bill, which ban all forms of gambling after the debts at the hospital are paid off. The original bill received proper scrutiny in that it solely dealt with gaming machines.
But, now, the amendment introduced by Senator San Nicolas and adopted by the legislative body would propose to ban all forms of gambling, such as bingo, raffles, cockfighting, and others will be made illegal after the debt from the hospital is paid.
The administration is concerned that such an amendment – banning all forms of gambling after all GMH obligations are paid – was never presented in a public forum to solicit public input on the effects of the amendment.”