RESS RELEASE - Governor Calvo provides the following reaction to the President's address to the nation earlier today:
"The partisan battle between the President and Congress is an example of what should never happen here on Guam. Unfortunately, Guam faces similar financial circumstances. The government owes the people at least $280 million in tax refunds. We are trying to convince the Legislature that if we want to pay these refunds all at once, there is no choice but to either finance it through a bond or wipe out half of the government for one fiscal year. Beyond paying our old debts through a bond, we have to align the actual cost of providing programs and services with the revenues the government takes in. It means cutting costs and raising revenues.
"Fortunately, I believe there is general agreement between us and the Legislature to pay these refunds at once and to raise revenue without raising taxes. I also believe senators will be responsible with our budget proposal and not increase the revenue ceiling we've proposed. The administration has been cutting spending, and the Legislature has been supportive. It is our hope the Legislature will continue supporting our initiatives to cut spending and raise revenues so we can fix the financial mess we are in.
"I commend senators for not allowing our disagreements over policy to become bitter partisan bickering between two parties, like what is happening in the federal government. We've done a pretty good job of leaving our party affiliations for elections, and governing with a bipartisan spirit. There will always be disagreements, but those are healthy for democracy when the debate is about policy and what is best for the people.
"Unfortunately, the bickering in Washington may not bode well for Guam. We've already seen how the ignorant opinion of a freshman congressman from Louisiana can derail our quest to have the U.S. government live up to its 60-year-old obligation on war claims. The Senate Armed Services Committee cut funding to the Defense Department for its activities on Guam. We are already waiting in perpetuity for the repatriation of the true cost of the impact of the compacts of free association. I hope Washington's partisan politics do not severely affect Guamanians already living in poverty."