Guam – In preparation for tomorrow’s (TUES.) budget session Governor Eddie Calvo is urging lawmakers to pass his bond borrowing measure to pay out tax refunds during his weekly address.
Governor Calvo sent a message to lawmakers during his weekly address today (MON.) reading off a list of actual emergency requests for tax refunds. The governor also sent a list of $1,265 people who have come to his office out of desperation to ask for their tax refund. “Senators, these people with these heartbreaking stories are not asking you for any handouts. They are begging for their own money,” said Governor Calvo.
The governor’s plan to pay out tax refunds involves borrowing money on the bond market. “My dear colleagues, time is running out. If we are to pay the people their past-due refunds by December this year, then I must appear before ratings agencies by mid-September. I can only appear before them if you give me the authority to float this bond for the tax refunds this month. While I understand this is not a perfect solution and there are other obligations we wish we could include, this is the only solution on the table right now,” said Governor Calvo.
The governor is begging lawmakers to pass the bond at a level of $311 million before August 31st so that he can pay the refunds by Christmas of this year. “I have been more than transparent about the fiscal affairs of this government and my stances on these issues. Please come forward and publicly declare whether you support the passage of this bond so our community knows what our future will look like come Christmas,” said Governor Calvo.
Budget Chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan says he’s still waiting for the governor to provide him with more specifics on the bond borrowing plan. “The bond in it’s proposed structure has changed both in terms of amount and uses of it’s proceeds in the last five six weeks. I can work with a moving target but it seems that with regards to this bond it’s running,” said Senator Pangelinan adding, “It’s changed four or five times with regards to the details of it the latest response we’ve got from the governor was I will share the information with you when it’s available and if we’re going to discuss the budget and he wants the bond to be part of that discussion the availability has to be when the legislature’s discussing it.”
The legislature will discuss it soon as they head into budget session tomorrow. The budget talks will not have to include the Guam Department of Education as lawmakers have already passed their budget in order to fund F.Q. Sanchez elementary. Also, the governor’s original request for a biennial budget will not be entertained as lawmakers passed only a one year budget for DOE.