Resolution introduced Friday passed Saturday - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Resolution introduced Friday passed Saturday

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Guam Legislature will be seeking judicial intervention in determining whether money deposited into a fund for tax refunds can be used for other purposes. Here's yet another controversial measure acted on by senators during their Saturday session.

Republicans in the Guam Legislature made it clear they didn't want anything to do with Resolution 312, passed by all nine Democrats during a session on Saturday. Senator Chris Duenas said, "I have never seen a substantive resolution in the time that I've been in this body put forward on the day of voting the voting file to be voted on when it has this type of implication."

The Republicans objected that Resolution 312 be added to session agenda. According to Senator Michael Limtiaco the measure was introduced Friday afternoon and wasn't posted on the Legislature's website until 7:26pm that same evening.  Limtiaco said he would have appreciated the courtesy of being informed about the resolution's introduction as opposed to receiving it 30 minutes before session started.

He said, "I still can't get past the fact that we shoved it through the process  we talk about transparency yet we are constantly guilty of not being transparent. I'm almost at a loss of words I'm almost embarrassed to tell you the truth. to be part of that."

Resolution 312 authorizes the legislature to seek a declaratory judgement from the Supreme Court of Guam on whether money can be withdrawn from the Income Tax Refund Efficient Payment Trust Fund to be used for other purposes other than to be pay tax refunds.  Senator Michael San Nicolas said, "If we're going to be moving this government in a direction where we're going to be increasing the obligations with respect to pay then we need to make sure that money for tax refunds stays for tax refunds we need to make sure that education, health and public safety and the funding that we provide for them stays for them."

According to the resolution it cites instances of transfers that were made from the Income Tax Refund Efficient Payment Trust Fund to pay for other Government of Guam operations. Democrats have long maintained money in the fund is only supposed to be used for the payment of tax refunds. Majority leader Rory Respicio said, "The issue before this body is what to we do to resolve once and for all who is right."

During the vote all six Republicans asked their names be removed from the resolution, while all nine democrats voted for its passage.

In response to Resolution 312, Governor Eddie Calvo says the Government of Guam is following the law and that the resolutions' author Senator Ben Pangelinan has a different concept of reality.

"I think its as lame-brain as the budget that passed in 2010 it is all smoke and mirrors and these folks, and I'm not sure what he was trying do," he said.

Department of Administration director Benita Manglona meanwhile says the bottom line is the administration has paid out more tax refunds than what is required to be deposited into Income Tax Refund Efficient Payment Trust Fund.

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