Governor proposes loan to pay tax refunds - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor proposes loan to pay tax refunds

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - In his Weekly Radio Address this morning, Governor Eddie Calvo said he along with Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio command would start walking through the island's poorest neighborhoods visiting with families to meet face to face and hear their challenges first hand. The governor believes the government has had its hands in pushing people into poverty by not paying long overdue tax refunds on time.  

His solution to end the problem: a loan.

Calvo announced today that he plans to introduce legislation proposing to borrow money to pay tax refunds completely. The island's chief executive believes this will provide much needed financial help to the island's struggling families. Senator Ben Pangelinan isn't necessarily against the idea, but recommends another route that he believes is much quicker. "We have a proposal right now that I put before the governor to reprogram the TAF fund and that means next week we could get up to $50 million if we decided to leave the museum project in the TAF bond, but we could have a net of $50 million to pay pass due refunds. We don't have to put together a package, or to wait to retire some debt service and determine we know that investors are ready to buy these bonds and we could have $50 million to pay refunds in a week to two weeks time," he said.

But Pangelinan's plan isn't enough to pay what the governor estimates is more than $260 million total owed in refunds. "Let's act on that now rather than waiting to say we want to do the entire amount we'll just do less. When we are ready to do the other amounts them we would just do less $50 million," he said.

That enthusiasm, however, isn't shared by his Democrat colleague Senator Tina Muna Barnes. She said, "We cannot keep borrowing money to get out of debt, we got to start looking at investing at and looking for new resources and if we have to borrow, let's look at agencies that we can strengthen that can bring resources to Guam."

And even if the plan is to get a bond, can the government still borrow money or has it reached its debt ceiling? Governor Calvo believes there's still room. "There is a reassessment due from Rev & Tax on property values and with that there's a full anticipation based on the earlier calculations that there will be an increase in that ceiling as a result of that evaluation of our real estate values in Guam," he said.

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