by Sabrina Salas Matanane
Guam - Senators are scheduled to return to session at 5:30pm during which they are expected to vote on the new budget bill which Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has already threatened to veto once its reaches his desk.
KUAM attempted to get reaction on the Governor's comments from Committee Chair on Appropriations Senator Ben Pangelinan this afternoon who said "I wish he would have met with me, that's all" and then walked away from our cameras.
The Governor calls the bill "irresponsible" for a number of reasons, chief among them is how he believes it falsely fully restores and pays for hay pay raises and fully restores COLA payments to $1800 dollars. The Governor says there is simply not enough money and instead recommends both be paid out in phases.
Republican Senator Michael Limtiaco, meanwhile issued a press release regarding the budget urging his colleagues to exercise fiscal restraint while deliberating on the budget "Practically overnight the Majority has changed the budget bill from a reasonable version that was attempting to deal with a $35 million revenue shortfall, to the latest version containing sections to allow for the FULL implementation of the Hay Pay Plan, the restoration of COLA to the pre-2008 level of $1800 per retiree and survivor, and additional funding for the Legislature. Revenue has been increased in two (2) Special Funds by almost $7 million, not coincidentally to match the appropriations contained in the bill. In addition, borrowing to finance operations when the funding sources exist to responsibly appropriate is irrational," he stated. He added "I support providing COLA to our retirees and survivors and implementing the Hay Pay Plan as we can afford to do so! But, to do so without recognizing the millions in debt service facing us in Fiscal Year 2015 may result in a return to deficit spending! And, in all good conscience I cannot, and will not, support such a bill. Once again, I urge my colleagues in the Majority to reconsider!"