Whether We Did What We Said
By Eddie Baza Calvo
Hafa adai my fellow Guamanians,
We did it, and we did it together- the GovGuam family and the people of Guam. We delivered on our promise to end the deficit. Our debt is now something we can handle with lower interest that won't burden our children as much as before. Eliminating the deficit is an historic achievement, no doubt, and it's critical to the survival of government services to you. What I like about this accomplishment is what went into it, and what it means. In a nutshell, Ray and I made a big promise to you, and we delivered on that promise, we rebuilt more trust between you and your government.
We've turned a new corner, now your children's children can grow up in an era when the word associated with government isn't deficit—it's trust and reliability.
It took a lot to get to this point. We asked the GovGuam family to dig deep and work harder than ever to do more with less.
We cut spending. We've instituted a fifteen percent reserve, ensuring that each agency does what it can to operate within its means – with a little leg room – just in case. We paid your hard earned tax refunds and we will stay the course so that we don't fall behind again. The critics can say all they want about our successful plan to finance tax refunds on the bond market. The fact is we lowered the interest rate on what was already a debt and frankly, we paid the tax refunds.
I know you've been used to hearing a lot of flowery nothings over the years. That's why it was important to us to back up our words with action. At the end of the day, you'll judge your trust in us on whether we delivered, whether we made government more transparent, whether we paid your tax refunds, whether we rewarded deserving employees, whether we focused our attention on school reform and higher standards, whether we funded the hospital so it can help everyone, even the ones who can't pay, whether we helped the poor and sought justice for victims, whether we defended children and the unborn, whether we started to build something lasting for the future.
Now that we have our financial house in order, we must look to economic initiatives to sustain our fiscal posture. We have successfully been authorized visa waiver for Russia and we will relentlessly pursue the China visa waiver – which will open the floodgates of investments. This will translate to new jobs and a better standard of living.
In the meantime, we are enjoying strong tourism numbers. With a healthy financial condition, we can start improving our government facilities and services. This will also create private sector job opportunities and make Guam a more attractive tourist destination and investment opportunity.
I'm proud to be on this journey with you. There are ups and downs, but boy has it been exciting and rewarding for the soul. With every new achievement comes the fulfillment in my heart that what we are doing is helping you and your family. With every new milestone comes the challenge of addressing what's next to make your lives better. Ray and I are always up to the challenge. We are marching into this new era with you. We're just getting started.
God bless you, my dear people, and thank you for your time today.