PRESS RELEASE - Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D. tonight received a compromise budget and
bond bill that pays all past-due tax refunds, but in a way the Governor
hopes is amenable to some Democrats. The Governor has called the legislature
into Special Session at 8 a.m. tomorrow to consider the new bill.
To compromise, the Governor left the legislature's version of the budget
virtually intact, except for the devastating lockbox provision. The new
proposal calls for an immediate authorization of $239 million on the bond
market. The proceeds include $187 million for tax refunds and $20 million
for the remainder of the COLA debt.
The payment of past-due tax refunds, however, will NOT be compromised. The
new bill includes a second bond series authorization. Under this bill, the
Governor will be able to go back to the bond market in January 2012 to pay
off the remainder of the past-due refunds, and a portion of the Tax Year
2011 refunds. This will mean the government will have actual cash in the tax
refunds account for the first time in 20 years.
"I said I would not compromise on paying people what they are owed, and I am
sticking to that commitment," Governor Calvo said. "I do understand the
concerns Vice Speaker Cruz has brought up, and I am willing to compromise on
the timing of the entire bond package. We'll get most of the refunds before
Christmas to the people, and the remainder will be ready in time for tax
filing season. This is not a perfect plan. I would much rather pay the
people everything as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the legislative
leadership's reluctance to pay these refunds all at once puts us at risk of
a government shutdown. I don't want to see a shutdown."
The Governor does welcome any move to restore the full bond amount and pay
all the refunds at once. If there are eight votes to do this, then that
would be the best option.