Special session called for Calvo's new budget bill - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Special session called for Calvo's new budget bill

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Immediately following the failure of the override attempt, lawmakers finally proceeded with the governor's call for special session on his new budget bill.   

"We put forward a reasonable budget that is financially responsible, it doesn't over promise things," said Adelup's director of communications, Troy Torres. The new budget bill is in the spirit of compromise and cooperation. Meanwhile, back on session floor senators began actually discussing the measure.

Senator Michael San Nicolas says he wanted to thoroughly review the bill more. But just through a cursory review, says the difference in the budgets is simply the difference in priorities. "The only thing I see different here is that he doesn't want to pay people what they're worth because he wants to go out and hire more because is right around the corner and you don't do that people, Madam Speaker. Pay the people what they're worth, the numbers are almost the same. Very little very difference when you compare general fund numbers," he said.

Senator Brant McCreadie meanwhile says stop blaming other people, adding, "Our job is not to blame the governor, our job is to not worry if the governor is not doing his job, our job is to do our job, our job is to not blame everyone, we're considered leaders of this island and all I keep hearing is blame, and that's not how we should conduct ourselves as leaders. It's embarrassing."

Deputy press secretary Phil Leon Guerrero says for this new budget bill, the Calvo Administration instructed BBMR to construct a budget around the appropriated levels contained in Senator Ben Pangelinan's first substitute budget version of the FY2014 budget bill.

"So we adopted his revenue figures when it came to miscellaneous appropriations and appropriations for priority service, that the Democrat majority have identified, for the most part kept that, too," he said.

As for the differences between this new budget bill and the one Governor Calvo vetoed Thursday night, it's the provision for tax refunds now at $113 million, $6 million more than the Administration expects to pay this year. It further kept the appropriations to pay the hay plan and raises it to $8.4 million.

"The Hay Plan that the governor vetoed was only for classified employees which would create disparity among government workers this plan, $8.4 million will provide a partial implementation of classified and unclassified pay raises," he said.

The new budget bill further includes an upward adjustment of $1,500 per retiree for the annual cost of living allowances. As you recall, the vetoed budget bill called for a full restoration of $1,800.

In his transmittal letter, Governor Calvo said he hoped lawmakers to look at the proposal with open minds, eyes focused on reason and logic and hearts set upon the most vulnerable in our community. Torres said, "When you're talking about a budget, you're talking about the funding that agencies need to provide services and a lot of them are poor people and you're also talking about the money that retirees and the employees need to survivor."

Senators voted on the governor's budget bill. The measure failed to garner enough support. The vote was 8-6.

Special session was adjourned and lawmakers went back into regular session, to announce they will go back into regular session Saturday at 9 in the morning.

Immediately following the vote, the Governor's Office says Governor Calvo is disappointed in the outcome, especially after compromising and appealing to the democratic leadership to compromise with him in the best interests of the people.

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