Pangelinan wants fiscal realignment plan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Pangelinan wants fiscal realignment plan

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Government of Guam's shortfall for the current fiscal year has been a point of contention between the Calvo Administration and Appropriations and Taxation Committee chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan. Friday marks the deadline the lawmaker gave the Administration's fiscal team to provide him with a fiscal realignment plan, but whether he'll actually get that plan remains to be seen.

"I'm not looking at what's the shortfall anymore," said Pangelinan, "I'm looking towards what's your solution the shortfall. I don't care if it's $167 or $167 million shortfall - we need a solution to deal with it. Let's get going!"

He contends part of that solution is for the Administration to submit a fiscal realignment plan. "What are you paying that is not budgeted? We need to deal with that matter outside the budget and if you're going to take something that is budgeted to pay for those unbudgeted items like the increase in health insurance, then you've got to send down a fiscal realignment plan and make the adjustments in the appropriation levels," he continued.

But governor's spokesperson Troy Torres contends such a plan isn't necessary, saying, "The fiscal realignment plan is meant if your revenues are not within 3 percent of projections for a certain budget year, for this fiscal year, then you send in a fiscal realignment plan but that's not what we're experiencing right now."

Instead, Torres explains that the Administration is trying to assess the cash situation of the government and develop solutions. He says while there may be enough money for the current fiscal year, the fact remains the government still has many past due bills and obligations, such as tax refunds, vendor payments and more that remain unpaid.

"What is he gonna defer? How is he gonna restructure or what transfer authority he's going to use [sic] to make up these shortfalls," Pangelinan added. "Let's get working here. Let's stop working on press releases and start working on solutions."

Torres added, "In terms of solutions since January 31 the Government of Guam's agencies have submitted some austerity - cost-cutting, revenue enhancing ideas to the fiscal team. They're still reviewing that."

Torres adds the fiscal team is hoping to present the solutions soon, but they first need the cash assessment, which is being done in collaboration with the Public Auditor. "They're looking over all the reports at DOA and BBMR to verify all of the numbers and to rein-in government spending throughout government agencies. It's a long and lengthy process, but they are working around the clock," he stated.

Senator Pangelinan meanwhile says the Administration will have to act fast as the same fiscal team must come up with the Fiscal Year 2012 budget that is due to lawmakers in April. "They can't dilly-dally around with this thing - they gotta find a solution to the problem they think they have they gotta quantify what that problem is to their satisfaction and then get. Going on Fiscal Year 2012 as well, so they should be burning the midnight oil up there," he told KUAM News.

The lawmaker has also questioned what the administration intends to use with the $13 million that was appropriated in the budget for the implementation of the Hay Study that was frozen. Torres says whatever money is saved from various austerity measures will go to help the government's cash situation.  Senator Pangelinan meanwhile has said he intends to move forward with the implementation of the study if the Administration doesn't start providing some solutions soon.

Additionally, while Senator Pangelinan won't be getting a fiscal realignment plan from the administration, he is set to meet with the fiscal team tomorrow.

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