Guam - Throughout next week, the Bureau of Budget & Management Research will go before lawmakers to discuss the executive budget request for the next fiscal year.
For the next fiscal year, the Executive Branch is asking for $566 million in general funds. According to BBMR director John Rios that's three million more than last year, or about less than a 1% increase. "What we do is we have a model to use to determine the revenues for next fiscal year 0215 and what it is, is a waited average of the last five years, we use that, we take into consideration some economic initiatives etc and then we determine what the expected or projected revenues for taxes, income tax, gross receipt taxes, etc.," he said.
Rios says it was in November last year when BBMR made the callout to all the line agencies requesting for their budgets. From there, BBMR reviewed and analyzed the requests and provided the ceilings for all those agencies.
And while the budget seasons are known for getting heated, Rios expects otherwise considering that during the governor's symposium on the budget process, finance and appropriations chair Senator Ben Pangelinan mentioned that he liked the way the Administration presented its budget last year. "Where we went through the complete budget, we explained the revenues and we also went through each department and provided him what the request was for each department," he said.
Rios however says despite a recent audit showing how the government is at a $30 million surplus, it will be difficult explaining to lawmakers that everything isn't exactly perfect. "What we got to understand is that yes our income statement looks good but you still have a lot of liabilities in the balance sheet that needs to be paid, so we don't want to make it look like we have so much to give out we want to still do spending cuts, we still have to be fiscally disciplined," he said.
Rios' biggest hope is that the administration and lawmakers can meet in the middle to ensure everyone is provided for. "They got to weigh the difference, weigh that knowing we have limited revenues and everyone wants pretty more to do what they're tasked for," he explained.
The weeklong hearings start on Monday July 15 at 1pm and everyday thereafter at 9 in the morning all at the Guam Legislature's Public Hearing Room.