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Senators send letter to governor

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The 31st Guam Legislature didn't discuss the Governor's new budget bill or Bill 1-2-S during Special Session on the floor, but they did meet behind closed doors all day today discussing what they call "stark differences" between the new bill and SB145 which was vetoed by the Governor last week.

The letter signed by all 14 senators with the exception of Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. who is off island, asks the Governor to either submit a new budget bill which addresses their six areas of concerns or provide in writing suggestions on how their concerns can be addressed.

Here's a summary of their concerns:

1-Limit immediate borrowing to the current debt ceiling, without removing the existing bond authority for expansion of a northern high school (Okkodo) to meet overcrowding needs, and without removing the existing debt capacity for the UOG Student Services Center and Engineering Facility or the Department of Land Management Building.

2-Restore language in the bill which mandates that refunds are paid annually as they become due, by restoring GRT set aside proportional to revenue collections

3-Restore the hiring freeze provisions to prevent growing deficit or growing government operations

4-Restore the provisions requiring the Department of Administration to submit government cash balance reports to the Legislature on a monthly basis to allow independent tracking of collections and expenditures

5-Remove any further tax credits for the Tiyan facility as JFK has been removed from the premises and these taxes can now be applied to the JFK interest payments and maintenance

6-Restore continuing appropriations to critical agencies in order for those agencies to sustain critical government services during FY2012.

Lawmakers also requested for the Governor to consider separating the two bonds and incorporate several other changes.

Senators recessed special session until tomorrow morning at nine o'clock.

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