Calvo closes bond deal - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo closes bond deal

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was considered a historic occasion as numerous supporters of the bonds watched Governor Eddie Calvo sign all the necessary documents needed before $235 million is transferred into the banks and ready for the tax refunds.  

Lillian Muna Brown couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present, saying, "We the people of Guam want to thank all of you guys for pushing and making this the best Christmas present for all our families, for the people of Guam and it will [be] the right direction for all of us to get back on track with our bills. Thank you."  Brown watched as Governor Calvo signed the final documents necessary to make the tax refund bond official. Since the start of his term, the island's chief executive has been talking about providing a long-term structural balance for the government and he said today was a step in the right direction as officials move toward reducing the deficit and realizing fiscal stability.

"It's been the practice of the government for the past two decades not to give the tax refunds to the people in a timely basis, and again, it has been on average two to three to four years that people were able to get their tax refunds. This is something that is just wrong, it's the people's money," he said.

Bond counsel Stan Dirks was on hand for the ceremonial signing, providing the documents that provide the framework for the issuance of bonds secured by Business Privilege Taxes and the terms for the Government of Guam to repay the bond. Governor Calvo thanked senators for making the bi-partisan effort to do what's right for the people. 

Acting Speaking Tina Rose Muna Barnes said, "And with this being done today, we know that we're sending a message to our people that we will continue to do what's right for our people, what we owe to our people and the continued collaboration that we have."

Although the occasion was joyous, the hard work has just begun as government officials will now pursue Series 'B' bonds because the $234 million bond isn't sufficient to cover 2011 tax refunds. It will be a challenge, as Department of Administration director Benita Manglona says GovGuam has accumulated a $367 million deficit. 

Without specific bonds, she warns that Govguam could end up, back where it started. "So that's the reason why we need the Series 'B' to pay for the 2011 tax refunds, so please senators, again, please help us and please let's not go through this fight again," she pleaded.

Tonight the Calvo Administration will engage in a conference call with New York to verify the account numbers and actual dollar amounts owed before the money is wired to the banks and put into the hands of the people tomorrow.

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