Adelup: budget IS balanced - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Adelup: budget IS balanced

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - After weeks of hearings on the Executive Branch's proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget request hosted by the Legislature's Committee on Appropriations, Senator Ben Pangelinan calls it defective and unbalanced.

"The budget is definitely balanced," Troy Torres with Adelup asserted. The Calvo Administration is standing by their numbers when it comes to their proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget under scrutiny by the committee chair on appropriations Senator Ben Pangelinan.

Over the last several weeks he's been holding oversight hearings with various government agencies as well as representatives from the governor's financial team to go over the numbers. In a press release today Pangelinan says the committee's final analysis concludes the governor's budget severely underfunds income tax refunds, education, retiree health insurance and overall general operations by more than $35 million. Pangelinan stating, "This unbalanced budget presents major challenges for the committee to balance the governor's budget moving forward."

"A lot of times you have to consider the messenger and what's come out of the messenger over time," he said.

Torres, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo's communications director says the administration's track record should speak for itself.

"And I think what you'll see is there's two very distinct records here on the one side there's an elected official who's always making claims that Governor Calvo's fiscal policies are bad and this same elected official was responsible for the three years of budgets that dug us into a huge deficit of tax refunds that were owed to people that Governor Calvo had to dig us out of using a bond that this elected official opposed to get people there tax refunds and fix the government's finances the same person who said that it would be impossible to eliminate the deficit, in one year let alone in the governor's terms and look what we have now and Governor Calvo was able to get us out of the deficit," he said.

Senator Ben Pangelinan however says in his press release that the numbers don't lie.  The oversight chairman outlines the $35 million dollar shortfall as follows:

- The fy14 budget is $16.6 million short for income tax refunds

- $8 million short for territorial educations fund

- $7.4 million short in the debt service payment for the landfill bond, which will now have to come from the General Fund

- And finally Senator Pangelinan believes the Calvo budget is overprojecting the numbers for the medical loss ratio rebates by 3.3 million dollars.

Lawmakers meanwhile are scheduled to head into session on Monday where the FY14 budget will likely be on the agenda. "We hope that the 14 other senators see this for what this is and that's just a lot of spin being put on I guess to oppose everything that the Calvo/Tenorio Administration does by this one senator," he said.

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