Review begins of Executive Branch's budget - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Review begins of Executive Branch's budget

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Get ready for the balancing act, as lawmakers will begin the process of digesting and dissecting the governor's budget submitted last Friday. It is a biennial spending plan for FY2012 and FY2013. Lawmakers will start rolling up their sleeves to begin the arduous task of ensuring the Government of Guam is adequately funded for the upcoming fiscal year - or in the case of the governor's budget, for the next two.  

Senator Frank Blas, Jr. leads the minority in the 31st Legislature and said, "We are still looking over the proposal with how he intends to deal with the tax refunds and the other balances owed to the people and I'm sure that the legislature and the Finance Committee is going to start its hearings and bring in the agencies to discuss the process. And whether or not they will be able to live within the means of the budget proposed by the governor."

For the Democrats, Senator Ben Pangelinan chairs the Appropriations Committee charged with leading the budget process in the Legislature and ensuring every dollar in the spending plan is justified. For now though Senator Pangelinan says more information is needed. "It doesn't include the budget for the different agencies and the details of it but until those get submitted then the picture is still not as clear as to how we are going to handle it," he said.

According to the numbers submitted by the Governor's Office, the revenue projection for FY2012 was estimated at $677.4 million while the projection for FY2013 was pegged at $573.2 million. Governor Eddie Calvo said the numbers are conservative. Included in the budget is a 2% reserve for both fiscal years. And one of the big ticket items which is sure to draw much criticism: a $344 million bond to be secured in 2013 to pay off all past due tax refunds, eliminate almost all of the government's deficit and erase the government's cash shortfall.

"We're very interested in the details, it proposes a lot of borrowing which I think everybody is concerned in only because we've been borrowing over the last five years and whenever we have that we are looking at the ability to pay it back," he said.

According to Governor Calvo in a special message today he said although the government has been borrowing over the last several years. One thing that has changed is your leaders, adding he's governor and there's a new legislature. Despite their differences, Governor Calvo says he and his administration are committed to working with the legislature to fix the government's 20-year-old fiscal problem. And specifically with Senator Pangelinan, who will work on his end to review the governor's two year plan.

"I think its ok, I think what's important its we peg down the expenditures and the revenues, we've had traditionally not been able to accurate predict one year out and reaching for two I think and allowing expenditures will require greater monitoring by not only the legislature, but the special economic service, the special accounting we are going to present it to them and see how they feel about it. I think that's going to be a very informative and educational meeting for that group of professionals and see what there prospective is on this," he said.

The governor all this week will be issuing special messages on his biennial budget proposal. Read today's message.

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