Guam – Monday the administration announced that they would be submitting a supplemental budget to the legislature requesting an additional $30 million dollars in spending authority for this fiscal year. Although budget chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan has yet the see the bill we asked him his initial thoughts.
The administration was not clear on exactly where the additional $30 million dollars would come from however, they did hint at the possibility of using money from autonomous agencies. The Guam Power Authority, the A.B. Wonpat Guam International Airport Authority and the port of Guam have all been billed $12 million dollars each under a 1998 law which seeks payments “in lieu of taxes.”
Senator Pangelinan says that in the past these agencies have said they couldn’t do this due to bond covenants, contractual obligations and other impediments. “If the autonomous agencies are now gonna say we’re gonna do this we’ll be interested to see what changed their mind and why they think that when this was proposed in the past they said that they didn’t do it they couldn’t do it and they wouldn’t do it and so what’s the deal I think that if they changed their mind then we know that there’s a deal involved in this,” said Senator Pangelinan.
Yesterday (Monday) administration officials rejected claims from some lawmakers that GovGuam had collected $4 million dollars more than projected in revenues instead they said the true number is just $1.3 million dollars more than projected. “The numbers that I’m articulating are numbers on their reports this report was signed by BBMR director, DOA director, Rev and Tax director and the BBMR director is a CPA and she certified that these numbers are correct these numbers are not a draft report it didn’t have stamped draft on it,” said Senator Pangelinan adding, “to say that the numbers are wrong means that they’re wrong because those are their numbers and I’m not changing it whatsoever I’m taking it straight off the reports as it was signed and certified as true and correct by their own administration officials.”
Senator Pangelinan says that because of this he and other lawmakers will be more wary of the administration’s numbers adding that the governor should work with his directors to make sure that when they release certified numbers that they are correct.
Yesterday (Monday) administration officials also spoke about GovGuam’s projected budgetary shortfall one that they are now projecting at $22 million dollars. “Well we know the amended permanent injunction is going to be about six (million) maybe eight (million) we know the health insurance is going to be about sixteen, (or) eighteen (million) so yeah that’s the number we came up with in January and asked them to quantify the others,” said Pangelinan.
The senator says that this is not a revenue shortfall, in other words it doesn’t mean they are short of the revenues they predicted to get. Instead Pangelinan says the $22 million dollar shortfall stems from two un-budgeted items name health insurance and the amended permanent injunction. “And those un-budgeted items exist because the budget was was passed and then the contract was signed so there was no way of building in that additional cost into the budget because it was unknown at that time and the same thing with the amended permanent injunction. The order was issued in sometime in December I think or late October and the fiscal year budget was already passed by August,” said Senator Pangelinan.
The administrations $30 million dollar supplemental budget is still being finalized. It might be released by tomorrow (Wednesday).