Officials continue ironing out 2011 budget - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Officials continue ironing out 2011 budget

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - The Special Economic Service Group - comprised of representatives from the Office of the Public Auditor, the Department of Revenue & Taxation, the Department of Administration, the Bureau of Budget and Management Research, and the Office of Finance & Budget convened today at the Legislature, working to nail down the figures for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

BBMR Director Bertha Duenas talks about one of the biggest hurdles in determining appropriations, saying, "To cover unbudgeted items, which are the items that have been occurring $20 million worth over recent years that are kind of never paid into the overall scheme of the budget.  This Special Economic Service has met twice to put those issues on the table."

On top of that, Rev & Tax Director Art Ilagan says the government owes about $163 million for tax refunds, dating back to 2007. He says so far the draft budget only accounts for tax refunds for the current year, noting, "We need to put aside $102 million for next year refunds, but we forget about the prior year refunds.  And I think that where the system is failing the taxpayers - we get money in and it is supposed to be put aside for refunds, but you can't put it aside for that when you owe prior years, so you pay prior years and we are stuck with not enough money to pay the refunds."

Duenas adds the revenues for the first three quarters of this year are down from the entire year in 2009 and says cutbacks in funding are more than likely.

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