Governor submits biennial budget - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor submits biennial budget

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Guam lawmakers will have the next several weeks to digest the governor's budget proposal sent down from Adelup today. Governor Eddie Calvo met today's deadline to turn over the Government of Guam's budget to the Guam Legislature, but it might not have been what they were expecting, he submitted a biennial spending plan.

"We're looking forward two years, we believe it's very conservative in nature in terms of our revenue estimates," said the island's chief executive. "We believe that if it both deals with fiscal responsibility, trying to improve the quality of our services yet ensuring that we don't grow the deficit but actually shrink down on the deficit."

According to Calvo, the budget includes a provision for a loan to pay tax refunds completely. The governor is his Weekly Radio Address this past Monday said he plans to pay the refunds and pay them on time from now on. The governor estimated more than $200 million is owed in all. "Part of the budget packages is its all encompassing in terms of fiscal stability and part of that does involves paying off short-term obligations such as tax refunds through the incurring of a bond issuance. That's part of the overall game plan in terms of trying to improve the quality of services," he continued.

The governor added that the budget was crafted with input from the various agencies, telling KUAM News, "We are working with our key administrators from the critical agencies such as Public Health and public safety, ensuring that they get the necessary funding. Of course, they also work towards moving forward in operations, seeing how we can work closely and more collaboratively with sister agencies to eliminate redundancies."

Whether that collaboration will carry over to the Guam Legislature, who will now be reviewing a biennial budget. We'll have to wait and see. Calvo said, "I think a biennial budget is more long-term in nature. That's mainly how many other communities effectuate budgets as well; as a matter of fact, the federal government they have a five-year budget plan. So what we intend to do is move forward with the Legislature - look at working with them on this biennial budget and see what we can do to project a long-term spending plan for this government.

A biennial (two-year) budget submission includes a directive the governor issued regarding excellence in customer service which incorporates the Hafa Adai Pledge. For example, GovGuam employees should answer the phone by saying 'Hafa Adai' within four rings. Likewise, a customer service hotline has been established at 475-GUAM.

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