Governor maintains stance against budget - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor maintains stance against budget

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - As Governor Eddie Calvo waits for the budget passed by senators Tuesday to his desk, he's standing by his position that's its dead on arrival.

Today he delivered a special address once again driving home his point that he believes the Legislature's budget is "irresponsible." "The budget process is not a game, it deals with your lives," he said.

In a special address to Government of Guam workers, retirees, and taxpayers, Governor Calvo continues his criticism of the newest version of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget which was submitted, added to session agenda discussed and approved by the Democrats Tuesday all in less than 24 hours.

"It's easy for the legislative majority to promise the farm away on a piece of paper called the budget, but it's much harder to actually manage all those promises, especially when there are more promises than money to pay for them," he said.

Governor Calvo had received a copy of the latest iteration of the new budget the evening before it was passed and as lawmakers were in session he warned senators through a flurry of press releases that it was full of empty promises and urged them to exercise restraint.  Among the various concerns with the new budget the governor argued that it pretends there's enough money to pay for everything at its full level such as cost of living allowances and Hay Study pay raises.

"What we proposed is to increase pay and cola based on what realistically will come in but what the legislative majority has done in instead is falsely promise you even more and they know full well that there isn't enough money in their budget to meet all there promises  they're writing bad checks," he said.

Governor Calvo vows to veto the bill and when he does, he'll send down a new budget, one he says is "prudent not political".  "This is what we can afford and what I'm proposing in a new budget phased in implementation of the hay raises, an increase to COLA, $1,500 annually, more than enough for the provision in tax refunds and enough funding for the operational needs of the public safety and the health agencies," he said. "It partially restores COLA and for the merit bonuses for Judiciary and DOE we're finding a real solution with real revenues behind it not a line of credit that is a phantom appropriation that looks good on paper only. I want you to know that you can count us to do what we say and to make good on our promises that's why I'll never over promise something to you."

Meanwhile committee chair on appropriations Senator Ben Pangelinan who has repeatedly refused interviews with KUAM issued a press release defending the new budget stating "these barrages of propaganda by the governor are only a veiled attempt to portray the legislature's budget in a negative light. What this budget does is it funds hay study pay raises fairly for GovGuam employees; it restores cost of living allowances for our GovGuam retirees to previous levels; and it assures the taxpayers that $7 million more than what the  governor proposed is set-aside for the payment of tax refunds in 2014."  He added that, "if the governor feels the revenues are too high, he could use his line-item veto authority to reduce appropriations.

The governor's response: "This bill has been such a radical departure from just the substitute bill that presented by the appropriations chair just a few days ago so there has been such a major and radical change put on this bill and there are so many flaws in it that no line item veto could save its inherit faultiness.

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