“You’ve essentially put handcuffs on the budget and thrown it into the water and hope that it’s gonna swim.” – Oyoal Ngiririkl Governor’s Spokeswoman.
Guam – The Governor says that the legislature’s 2017 budget bill falls short and fails GovGuam retirees and the island’s most vulnerable.
After an initial review of the FY17 budget that the legislature passed the Governor’s office issued a press release titled “Cap Slash Find The Cash; The Legislature’s Budget Bill Falls Short”
The Vice-Speaker introduced and the legislature passed a budget bill based on conservative revenue estimates. The bill they passed cuts $55 million in spending but the Governor’s office says this will prevent them from covering certain expenses. “Quite obviously they don’t agree with our revenue projections and that’s fine except when you’re going to tell the Governor that you have the transfer authority to pay for these things that wasn’t appropriated then you have to give them some room to do that. You can’t just cut the money and say then well transfer money well transfer money from where?” said the Governor’s office spokeswoman Oyoal Ngiririkl adding, “You’ve essentially put handcuffs on the budget and thrown it into the water and hope that it’s gonna swim.”
Adelup says that the $55 million in savings comes at a cost and the budget bill fails to appropriate the money needed to provide the service. “When you shortchange the agencies like this what you’re doing is you’re crippling the agencies because then you’re not able to do things that you need to do. For example we’ve got the medical life and dental insurance for our retirees, that has been shortchanged and we’ve told them that,” said Ngiririkl.
The administration says that the legislature under appropriated funding for the retirees medical dental and life insurance for this current year and the next fiscal year. Ngiririkl said, “And then going into 2017 they’re doing the same thing. They’re saying despite us telling them it’s going to cost this amount of money, you know it’s going to cost about $36 million dollars and you’re only giving us 24. What are we supposed to do?”
The administration is also concerned that the budget bill caps the government’s debt ceiling making it a challenge to find funding for capital improvement projects.
The Governor’s office says that the legislature’s budget essentially leaves it up to the Governor to figure out how to pay for certain expenses and the Governor is quoted as saying “if that’s the case, they should have just gone with the budget I gave them.”