by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Instead of paying $9 million back to the federal government, Senator Frank Blas, Jr. has requested that the federal government offset that amount from what is owed to the territory in Compact impact reimbursements. GovGuam is expected to pay back the $9 million due to an overpayment of Section 30 funding.
In a letter to Department of the Interior assistant secretary for insular affairs Tony Babauta, Blas has requested offsetting the local government's payments by using proportionate amounts owed for compact impact costs be included as a recommendation in DOI's report to Congress.
"DOI has yet to finalize its annual report on the impacts of the Compacts of Free Association, and what I have asked the Assistant Secretary to consider is a viable way to partially address what is owed to Guam. As we continue to look for ways to address the financial shortfalls of our government, I will also continue to press for resolution to our continuing issue with our Compact impact costs. And while the federal government itself is dealing with a fiscal crisis, I believe that this proposal provides a viable option to reducing debt without paying," Blas said.